Not all stories of God at work are finished or wrapped up nicely with pretty paper and a shiny bow. Today we want to share one of our works in progress, a space where we see glimpses of God, but have not yet seen the full picture. At Bayshore Christian Ministries, we seek to be attentive to the needs of our students and community, and to respond by adjusting current offerings or creating new programs. Mindful Kids came about in just that way, as we noticed that students had reduced time with caring adults as a result of distance learning. Mindful Kids is BCM’s pilot social emotional program that has been in development over the past five months. Priscilla Welsh has been coordinating this pilot program, along with the support of a volunteer team, and we are grateful for their persistence and innovative, flexible spirits as they launch this start-up offering at BCM.
Priscilla reflects, “This journey has brought about a lot of discouragement of not being able to fill a need we see in the youth in our community. Throughout this process God has been faithful through the ups and downs. The Lord has reminded me that He is moving in ways we don't always expect.”
Several months ago, after we articulated the vision, received funding from a local church partner and hired Priscilla, we recruited high-school aged mentors, primarily through a partnership with The King’s Academy in Sunnyvale. The mentors learned more about the East Palo Alto community and developed their skills in working with younger students. They were now ready to have students join the program.
At first, we looked to school leaders, partners from other ministries, past volunteers, and other connections to help us recruit students for the program. Unfortunately, only a few individuals responded to our emails. Those who responded to these emails were excited about this program and happy to promote to other families. After weeks of reaching out to our community we only had three students signed up, yet we had nine mentors ready to serve. Launching with an even number of mentors to students was our goal but in March our first mentoring session convened. Thankfully, we found a great match between one of the mentors and a sweet nine-year-old. Each week rich conversations are taking place between student and mentor.
The other volunteers were invited to assist with recruiting students in new ways. Two of the volunteers stepped up in a social media and flyer recruitment plan. These volunteers came up with graphics while the other volunteer worked on strategies to catch students' attention. These recent efforts resulted in a group of families that want to be a part of BCM and we are working to find a perfect spot for all of these children at BCM. We are also regularly posting mindfulness activities on our social media channels.
Looking back on the past few months, Priscilla comments, “It has proven to be a challenging balance of trying to provide for a need that we see facing the students while acknowledging the reality that it may be a support parents aren't aware their child could strongly benefit from. In the beginning, I saw my role as bringing on as many students as possible, but as the months continued, God showed me He can move in ways we don't expect. Over time, I saw that investing in my volunteer team was where God wanted me to spend my time."
"Mindful Kids is a seed that is growing, and I believe in the right timing God will bring the right kids to our program.”
Please pray for BCM’s ministry as we continue to innovate and patiently follow God’s guidance. We are excited and ready for new students to come join us in His timing!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.