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Dear FaithWorks’ Friends,

Last week, FaithWorks hosted a Back to School lunch for the Shidler Elementary teachers and staff. We had not been able to do this for the past two years due to Covid. It was refreshing to see teachers eager for the school year to begin. It has been a long time since our students have had a “real” school year.

Speaking of school, I want to give you an update on the current situation with Shidler Elementary and thank you for your prayers and support. I was able to meet with two of the OKCPS school board members, as well as Dr. McDaniel, OKCPS Superintendent. They came to our Center and listened to the history of our community and the progress that has been made over the years through our partners. I believe they left understanding the importance of Shidler Elementary to our community. Next week, the bond resolution will be presented to the OKCPS board for approval with hopes of having the bond issue on the November ballot.

I would like to remind you that FaithWorks is also trying to return to “normal” by bringing back the Power Hour tutoring program. We would love to have forty tutors engaging with forty Shidler students on Thursdays throughout the school year. This program has been a part of FaithWorks for eighteen years. Many Shidler students have been impacted by this reading/mentorship program. Power Hour will begin on Thursday, September 8 at the FaithWorks’ Community Center with required tutor training beginning at 2:15 p.m. and students arriving at 3:00 p.m. Applications are available online at faithworksokc.com/volunteer. You can also contact Natalie Stinchcomb, natalie@faithworksokc.com for further information.

Wonderful things are happening at FaithWorks…due to twenty middle school and high school students needing transportation to church on Wednesdays and Sundays, FaithWorks is in need of a second twelve passenger van. Please be in prayer that funds will become available and that a safe, reliable van can be found. We are beyond excited about the interest and commitment of our students to our youth program. Great things have happened over the summer, and we are very excited to see what happens this fall with this group of young people.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for a safe, smooth start for fall programs

  • Pray for our staff and our four new employees as they begin a new year

  • Pray for funding for additional staff and students

  • Pray for funding for increasing food costs

  • Pray for our children and youth- for their safety and desire to know God

  • Pray for Mr. Ayala, principal Shidler Elementary and his staff

Needs:

  • Power Hour tutors

  • Childcare workers and food prep workers for our new community parenting classes

  • Funding for an additional van/additional staff/food costs

I am thankful for your continued partnership with us.

Sally


 

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, August 29th: FaithWorks' Annual Golf Tournament

  • Tuesday, September 6th: FaithWorks' Fall Program Begins

  • Thursday, September 8th: First day of Power Hour



Dear FaithWorks’ Friends, FaithWorks has had a wonderful summer filled with summer camps! Many of you provided scholarships for our fourth graders and teenagers to attend Summit Camp in northeastern Oklahoma. Darrell Haley, our children’s program director, has been the camp director there for many years. Going to camp was an exciting adventure for our children and youth because most of them had never been to camp or away from home! Marlene, our cook, and her husband were the camp cooks and some of our staff and college students assisted as sponsors. I think this story sums up their experience. Jorge, a soft spoken, shy middle schooler, expressed himself this way. He said, “Guess what?” “I was accepted.” Not sure of what he meant, Mr. G, our teen program coordinator, asked, “Into what?” After a confusing discussion, it was understood. Jorge had given his life to Jesus. How many times have we wanted to be “accepted”? How many times have we been “left out” due to age, gender, race, income, or talent? The list goes on and on. Jorge got it right. He was accepted. Jesus accepted him just as he is. I love the authenticity of our children. No churchy words, just true, honest words expressing what Jesus did. Gladix was asked how she felt after asking Jesus into her heart. Her response, “I feel fresh, clean and new.” Thank you for giving our students and staff this opportunity. We are excited to encourage and mentor these young people as they grow in their relationship with Jesus. Changing the subject, I need your prayers. Oklahoma City Public Schools is voting on a bond issue, tentatively set for November 9th. Please understand, I am very supportive of any improvements that provide a better education and facilities for the children of Oklahoma City; however, part of the plan is to consolidate Shidler Elementary School and Lee Elementary School and relocate both in a new building at a location outside of the Shidler-Wheeler neighborhood. This relocation will be detrimental to our community, families, and FaithWorks. Through the community partnership of FaithWorks and the leadership of Principal Ayala, Shidler Elementary has nurtured our children and created community in a forgotten neighborhood. I have seen amazing, surprising and exciting changes in the way our families view education. Please pray that I will have an opportunity to meet with OKCPS board members and Superintendent McDaniel before a decision is made on the relocation. Pray for wisdom as we consider other options for saving Shidler Elementary. I sincerely appreciate your support and prayers for FaithWorks and Shidler Elementary School. Gratefully, Sally

 

Upcoming Event: Please consider participating in the FaithWorks of the Inner City Annual Golf Tournament Monday, August 29th, River Oaks Golf Club Information and registration are online, register by clicking on the orange button below. This is our fall fundraiser and proceeds will support current programs and building projects.


This past week I received a vivid reminder of why our job at FaithWorks is so important. I think I sometimes see our kids, as just KIDS. For the most part, they seem happy and have fun participating in the activities and programs we provide. I knew during the beginning stages of Covid how important it was to keep our Center open, but I don’t think I realized the importance of staying connected.

Marco (not his real name) was a happy, fun, mischievous fifth grade boy. We all enjoyed his company. During his sixth-grade year, we didn’t see him very often, but he would occasionally come to our teen program on Thursday nights. By seventh grade he was gone! Last week one of our teens asked if we had heard about Marco. Marco is now fourteen and was arrested for murder. It seems he killed a thirty-nine-year-old woman during a break-in.

Now, I look at our group of fifth graders and think, who’s next? They are not bad kids, but kids with choices most of us will never have to make. They have lots of free time, not much supervision, no purpose, and a world that numbs violence and shows them what they are lacking—emotionally and physically. Marco’s story is a reminder that we must hang on to them for as long as possible by providing a safe place where they are always welcome. We must remember to reach out to them after they leave our after- school programs and continue to make our teen night something special. I am so grateful for Isaac Gallegos and Darrell Haley and their commitment to loving, playing, and teaching these kids about their value and the hope of Jesus.

Currently, there are twenty-two middle school and high school students attending our Thursday night “TNT” Teen Night Thursday Program.

We opened our Center on September 7, and we have gotten off to a great start. We are still limiting the number of students attending due to Covid. We have a wonderful, committed staff with the addition of three remarkable (former FaithWorks’ kids) high school students. Our Mommy and Me preschool is operating again after a year’s break. It is a blessing to drive up each morning and see the little ones heading to “school.” I am very excited about what Sara Gallegos is doing with our moms and college girls. She has begun a morning “Mom Time” for some of our mothers with younger children. It is a time of fellowship focusing on the struggles of parenting and using God’s word for encouragement. She is also hosting a Monday night Bible study for our college and older high school girls. They are focusing on finding their worth in Jesus. We have also continued the L.I.F.T. (Learning Is Fun Together) tutoring program for our elementary students. Natalie Stinchcomb has done a wonderful job coordinating this program and recruiting tutors; however, we can always use more!

Thank you for your continued investment in FaithWorks. Please keep us in your prayers.

Sally

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