Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Closing Window of Opportunity for Kids Adelante

Those of us who are parents know how quickly kids grow up. This week I am lamenting how fast our opportunity to reach many immigrant children seems to evaporate. The window of time in which they are receptive is painfully short, and we are still working to establish key elements of our Kids Adelante program.

Children in our neighborhood lose innocence so quickly. In a confusing reversal of roles, the children learn English more easily than their parents, who then become dependent on their children as culture and language brokers. Culture, language, poverty, family volatility, and other factors combine to widen the natural gap that occurs between kids and parents during adolescence. The result is that by the age of 12, peers become the primary influences in the life of a child in an inner city context where gangs, teen pregnancy, and all other forms of human brokenness often prevail.

Nayeli started coming to Kids Adelante last fall. She is already eleven years old and she is changing fast. Her first trimester with us she led the way in memorizing scripture, influencing the others in her group to do the same. She is now about to enter the turning point age where most kids begin to distance themselves from their parents and from adult influence. Have we had enough time with her to make a lasting impact? Does she know God in an authentic and personal way yet? The window is closing with her and others and it seems we are just getting started.

As I think about Kids Adelante I am deeply moved by the opportunity we have to shape these kids forever. But the window is indeed brief. We have done what we can with limited staff resources, but much more is needed. This fall we hope to launch a pilot version of "Leaders in Training" that will include much more interaction with some of the kids in a mentoring/tutoring context. Please pray with me for direction for this new ministry component. Pray for God to raise up new staff for Kids Adelante. Pray for a passionate and committed group of volunteers who will pour themselves out for these kids. And pray for the kids; especially those who are nearing that critical age of adolescence.

In other news:
  • Mother's Day is always celebrated on May 10 in Mexico. This year, it fell on Saturday, followed by Mother's Day in the U.S. on Sunday. We honored all the mothers in attendance at the worship celebration on Sunday evening with roses, cake and punch.
  • Five volunteers from Jacob's Well Church worked on demolition at the facility on Saturday. All of them had volunteered previously at Mission Adelante, and chose to come back from among other options.
  • Thirteen volunteers from Five Star Speakers are at the facility today to spend this afternoon working on demolition. We're grateful for every person that works on the building renovation!

Prayer needs:

  • Please pray for immigrant children to be strengthened, in light of the challenges that they face. Pray for God to attract them at a young age and preserve their innocence and enthusiasm, especially as they approach adolescence.
  • Pray for Mission Adelante leaders to receive God's direction for future Kids Adelante elements that we envision, such as mentoring and tutoring.

Current needs:

  • 8-foot folding tables
  • round tables
  • gas grills

Important upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, May 24 @ 9:00 a.m.: Volunteer Orientation and Training

If you're interested in volunteering with us in the future, or if you're a current volunteer who's never had the opportunity to come to the Orientation & Training, please plan to attend! You'll get an overview of Mission Adelante's various ministries, as well as information specific to the area that is of most interest to you.

  • Monday, June 2 @ 6:30 p.m.: Volunteer Team Meeting

We ask that all current volunteers attend as we prepare for the beginning of the summer trimester

  • June5: Summer ESL classes and Kids Adelante begin

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