Straight Street is pleased to be a regional partner with the Angel Tree Prison Fellowship organization which provides an opportunity for local churches to become connected with children who have an incarcerated parent in a state or federal prison. These children range in age from 10 months to 17 years old and many have brothers and sisters as well as their caregiver who are also affected by this separation. This year the Roanoke Valley needed Christmas gift sponsors for around 400 children and additionally there are many more children in the surrounding counties.
Angel Tree has served children for the past 29 years and continues to expand their ministry, encouraging local churches to be involved not only in providing a gift at Christmas, but to maintain contact with the families throughout the year. They may need an encouraging word or assistance with resources, however their greatest need is to know the love of God and be connected with a church to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Check out their website at angeltree.org for more information, personal stories and additional details regarding the ministry. As a part of Prison Fellowship, founded by Chuck Colson, Angel Tree is a non-profit organization with dedicated staff who are passionate about maintaining a positive relationship among the families of prisoners. Straight Street will be increasing their involvement by seeking and training mentors to come alongside the children and encourage them on a weekly basis. More information will be available soon regarding mentor training in the Roanoke Valley. A Christian mentor can impact the life of a prisoner’s child by:
- Being an example of the love of Jesus Christ.
- Improving young people’s attitudes towards their parents, peers and teachers.
- Encouraging students to stay motivated and focused on their education.
- Providing a positive way for young people to spend free time.
- Helping young people face daily challenges.
- Offering young people opportunities to consider new career paths and get much-needed economic skills and knowledge.*
The mentor is not expected to be the child’s savior, therapist, surrogate parent, or peer. The mentor is meant to be a friend, a coach, a confidant, and a role model.
Rachel’s Challenge was founded by the father of Rachel Scott; the first victim in the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. Their missions statement is: “We exist to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.”
The Rachel’s Challenge school program has been presented in thousands of primary and secondary schools, multiple stadium and large venue events in 50 states and six countries. Over 11,000,000 people have been reached with the messages and schools have been changed by students and faculty deciding to make a difference in their encounters with one another.
The Roanoke Valley has been privileged to have this program in 7 schools in 2010, and 20 schools in 2011, reaching more than 20,000 students. Straight Street has worked closely with the school systems and the Virginia Governor’s office in order to have this program available. Straight Street staff continues to support the Friends of Rachel clubs that have begun in the schools, providing encouragement and ideas in order for these clubs to increase their presence in the schools and strengthen the outpouring of kindness and compassion.
You can check out their website at rachelschallenge.org, pray for the school administrators, teachers and students, as they are faced with many challenges on a daily basis.
Growing up is never easy, but without a positive adult influence, it can be nearly impossible. Millions of children throughout the world don’t have a caring adult guiding them through life. As a result, they don’t achieve – they get sucked into a destructive cycle of poverty, crime and broken relationships.
Since 1976, Leadership Foundations (LF) has worked to help young people through programs like the Leadership Foundations Youth Initiative (LFYI).
This initiative connects young people around the world with caring mentors who help fill in the gap between the realities that urban youth face and what they need to flourish. LFYI’s mentors provide vital skills, values and modeling needed for young people to rise above their circumstances and become leaders themselves.
For more information go to : www.leadershipfoundations.org