“God created family. He loves family,” says LLFC Sr. Director Cary Hendricks. “And we continually look for ways to go deeper in LLFC’s mission because we recognize the tremendous value of healthy and connected families. One of the most powerful ways we have found to do this is through identifying and partnering alongside organizations with whom we have relationship—organizations who are boots on the ground within various communities. Organizations who are already actively doing the work of serving and supporting health within the family unit.”
H. E. Butt Foundation President, David Rogers encouraged Hendricks to look into Rezilient Kidz—an organization created to champion the needs of children and to equip parents to build thriving, healthy families through research, community initiatives and reliable content. As Hendricks spent time with Mike Haley, Program Director of Rezilient Kidz, he learned about the curriculum “Raising Highly Capable Kids” and knew it was a great fit for the mission of Family Camp and the Foundation.
Raising Highly Capable Kids is a 13-week curriculum that is based on the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. Search Institute has undertaken decades of research with more than 5 million children and found that there are 40 building blocks every child needs to grow and mature. And the more of these Assets a child has in her life, the more likely she is to engage in healthy behaviors while veering away from those that are unhealthy. (Rezilient Kidz)
In May, LLFC invited local, family service organizations from San Antonio, Austin, and San Angelo to attend a facilitated training for the “Raising Highly Capable Kids” curriculum. The training quickly served as a springboard for a number of the organizations in attendance—most immediately, House of Faith in San Angelo, TX.
For the past two years, the LLFC team has had the privilege of getting to know the staff and work of HOF. In the words of Hendricks, “They are a get-it-done organization—no matter what! And we sincerely believe in the work they are doing in San Angelo and beyond.”
Since January of 1994, House of Faith has faithfully served many at risk communities of San Angelo, TX with the intentional mission of “taking Jesus to neighborhood children, youth and families—providing a sense of belonging and promoting spiritual growth.”
Noted on HOF’s website, “what began in one yard in the barrio community of San Angelo, with 63 children now serves over 1,500 elementary age children who meet weekly in 14 locations in [the] community, as well as weekly programs that serve 250 youth.”
Hendricks was confident that the training would compliment the mission of HOF, and they were a excited to partner.
HOF sent invitations to families of every child on their roster. The response was immediate—69 adults plus their 124 kids, representing 49 families and 15 different elementary schools.
With the support of the Foundation and Family Camp along with curriculum from Rezilient Kidz, HOF staff and volunteers successfully executed its 6-week pilot “Parent University” over the months of June and July. HOF Assistant Director Jimmy Hill and his wife, Heather, lead the large group discussion, while other staff, board members, and long-time HOF volunteers facilitated the small group discussions around the tables.
Each week as families ate dinner together and took part in the classes, community formed. Hill said, “The classes became a place to belong. A place to become a better parent. It was important from the very beginning that these families knew our purpose was to help them. We know how hard parenting is. We want to provide helpful tools to make their jobs as parents better and easier. We want them to know they’re not alone in this. We are here. The others around the table are here.”
HOF knew that the curriculum material along with the personal support of the Parent University community was invaluable to the long-term impact of these classes on families. In celebration of the 31 families who completed the entire program, HOF hosted a graduation ceremony, complete with “Pomp and Circumstance,” diplomas, and a fall 2017 weekend at Laity Lodge Family Camp.
Hill gets choked up when he considers just what this partnership with LLFC and the Foundation means. “Back in 1993, our Co-founders, Kevin Reynolds & Rachel Beaver, wrote out the three long-term phases the HOF ministry. We’ve really focused on the first two over the past two decades, but we just haven’t landed on the right fit for the third phase. When Kevin and Rachel wrote about the third phase they specifically said ‘reaching out to the families of the children and young people who are already involved in the program…to meet needs in ways such as parenting classes.’ After going through the “Raising Highly Capable Kids” training back in May, we knew this was the fit for HOF.“
In a Facebook post during this summer’s pilot Parent University, HOF staff commented “HOF has always reached out to children & youth. Today marks the fourth week of Parent University, where the third part of the mission, written 24 years ago, is finally happening. Never give up praying! Never give up on your vision! Never give up on what the Lord lays on your heart. Great things are happening here. Today, we give thanks to the Lord for his perfect timing!”
Hill is excited about taking more families through HOF’s Parent University classes and the families who will be impacted. This coming school year HOF will partner with Grape Creek ISD offering the classes to families of Pre-K through 5th grade. The team has high hope of partnering with San Angelo ISD in the near future as well. Later this year, Hill will be presenting at the local church and pastor network gathering sharing HOF’s vision for Parent University aimed at school and local church partnership.
In the meantime, the LLFC team is excitedly preparing for the first ever HOF Parent University graduate group attending Family Camp this month. Hendricks says, “we can’t wait to see the fruits of House of Faith’s care and service to families in the San Angelo community. This is exactly the type of partnership we hoped and prayed for when we approached HOF back in the spring.”