Vida Nueva church was growing concerned about the increasing level of vandalism, crime and unemployment in their neighbourhood and recognized a correlation with the high number of teenagers dropping out of school. Vida Nueva desired a way to speak into the lives of these struggling teens. After building relationships with the principals of two high schools in the area, it was agreed that each school would send 40 students with the lowest grades to participate in an academic support program based out of the church.
With a rotating schedule of volunteers with various strengths, the church has committed to tutoring these students to help them raise their marks, stay in school and realize their potential. The program also provides lunch as good nutrition is key to learning. Knowing that many of these teens have other personal issues, Vida Nueva is also working to provide mentorship as they walk alongside them in their day-to-day.
A small team of professional social workers and phycologists from within the church are also providing a drop-in counseling service each Friday afternoon to support parents around themes such as marriage, parenting techniques, work stress, etc.
Overall, the hope is that as relationships are established, not only will grades improve, but when families in the neighbourhood face challenges or crisis, they will see their local church as a safe place to receive holistic support.
Bolivia is a country that loves celebration so what better way to launch a project than with an over the top inauguration ceremony. On the night of the launch, the church filled up with project volunteers, church members, students, parents, teachers, and even reps. from the municipality. Seeing members of the community filtering through the front doors of the church to celebrate an exciting opportunity for their teens was reminiscent of a portion of the Sermon on the Mount:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16