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Kokomo Hearald: Finding Hope at the Crossing

By December 24, 2012 No Comments

“Whatsoever you do for to the least of these brothers of mine, that you do unto me.”

Finding hope at the CrossingThat quote, taken from the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew describes the Christian responsibility for taking care of the less fortunate. This past Thursday, a number of people met for a luncheon to hear about a local educational program that caters to some of the “least of these.” Local businessmen Rex Gingerich of McGonigals and Paul Wyman of the Wyman Group, co-hosted a luncheon for the Crossing Educational Center at Pastariffic Italian Restaurant. The luncheon was sponsored in partnership with the Kokomo Crossing Board and included a short program geared towards educating the public about the mission of the Crossing, and outlining the program’s need for support. Shannon Querry, Community Development Coordinator for the Crossing, said the event was a rousing success. “It was wonderful to be able to tell our story, and give people a better idea of what we do and why it is so important,” Ms. Querry said. “And it was gratifying to receive a positive response.” The positive response, according to Querry, included pledges of financial support from a blend of businesses, churches, and individuals. “We were able to meet our fundraising goal to keep the program going,” She said. Finding hope at the CrossingThe Crossing’s program, as described by Querry, is “a unique alternative school designed to help children with non-traditional needs learn in a Christ-centered environment.” The state accredited school is intended for students who have dropped out of school, and need a second chance at an education in a more personal setting. “There are basically three keys to our success,” Querry said. “They are relationships, relationships, and relationships.” Querry pointed to the low, 1 to 6 teacher to student ratio, the non-judgemental environment, and the Christ-centered foundation as the building blocks to the more personal approach. “We meet the students wherever they are,” she said. “Wherever they are academically, emotionally, or spiritually, we find away to get them on the right track and show them what success in all those areas looks like.” Although the program, which operates in 17 locations throughout Indiana, was founded in 2003, this is only the third year serving Kokomo area students. It nearly ended after two. Randy Blankenship, Pastor at New Life Church at 1803 E. Vaile, was aware of the program because some of the teachers and campus leaders were members of his congregation. “I found out they were in danger of shutting down,” Pastor Blankenship recalled. “For many of these kids, this was really the last chance, so to lose this program would have been a tragedy.” After prayerful consideration, Blankenship presented the idea of supporting the school to his church as part of their missionary efforts. “They needed an additional $1,800 per month in operating expenses,” Blankenship said. “After our collections, our outreach, and operating expenses, we were left with around an $1,800 per month surplus. So we committed to support the school for a season.” Finding hope at the CrossingIn addition to the needed financial support, Pastor Blankenship signed on to assist in efforts to find new avenues of support, hence last week’s luncheon. “We will maintain a significant level of monthly support,” Pastor Blankenship offered. “But for the program to thrive and grow, we knew we needed to find more community partners.” Although the luncheon succeeded in garnering the support needed to keep the program on track, Querry did not view it as an end as much as a beginning. “We have very ambitious plans for the program’s future,” She said. “Soon we will be launching a pilot jobs program, and that will require more support, both in volunteers and funding. So this is the first step in establishing and building community relationships. “The more we get out there, the more people will see that we have a lot to offer this community,” Querry added. Her prayer is that the community still has a lot to offer “the least of these.”

by Sean Cameron

View the original article: Kokomo Herald

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