Harvest Springs Community Church “adopted” nearby Sacajawea Elementary School in Great Falls several years ago—providing occasional meals, assisting with PTA activities, and facilities projects—but wanted to do more. Kids Hope offered that opportunity.
The national Kids Hope USA program pairs volunteer mentors at churches with children at nearby public schools. Volunteers are recruited, screened, and trained through the church and commit to spending an hour a week with the children.
Lindsey Brown is the Kids’ Ministry Director at Harvest Springs and co-director of the Kids Hope program for the church. “The mentors become like a family member,” Brown says.
Kids Hope USA currently runs at four Montana churches, in Great Falls, Helena, and East Helena. The Gianforte Family Foundation offers grants of $1,500 to churches ready to start a program. Nationally, the program runs in 40 states, through 850 programs at elementary and middle schools.
Dale Perchert has served as a mentor for three years through Harvest Springs. “It’s one hour once a week and all you have to do is show up. Even on the worst days, just showing up makes a difference in my kid’s life…Mentoring is a big word for just being there for that kiddo.”