Bidding Farewell to Kendra

This week is the last week our amazing Program Director Kendra will be on staff. She is transitioning off of staff to spend more time at home with her little ones and to begin a new venture of preventing child abuse. She has been an integral part of Club Christ for the last eight years and we will greatly miss her presence and insight. We are so excited for her though as she continues to follow God’s calling.

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I’ll never forget when I first met you. I arrived at the Henderson center super unsure of what I had just gotten myself into and there you were! Kind, soft-spoken, beautiful, wearing a dress and pearls, and working with a bunch of wild kids. I’ve always been inspired by you. No matter what it is you’re doing you always do it with excellency.  Out of all the things I love about you, I love your compassionate heart the most. You care so much and SO deeply for everyone around you. When you listen to people speak you truly engage and connect, it’s what makes you so wonderful. I’ll always be inspired by the girl in the dress and pearls and that girl will always be so dear to my heart. You are my inspiration, my fashion icon, and my friend. Thank you for every thing you’ve ever spoken into my heart! I love you! – Maryann, former Las Vegas Center Director 

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Kendra, I’ll never forget the first time I met you- it was the middle of August, a thousand degrees, and I was checking out the Las Vegas Center for the first time. Immediately I sensed a gracious, gentle, and loving spirit within you! Thank you so much for all you have done for Club Christ and for me- both as my co-worker and my friend. Your support, concern, and encouragement have gotten me through some tough times and for that, I am incredibly grateful. I am going to miss our meetings at Grouchy Johns and seeing you in the office. I know that you have a gift and a heart for kids who have experienced some terrible things and God is using you to change their lives and the lives of their families. You are amazing. Love you! –Angela, Las Vegas Center Director

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Kendra has brought a lot of “firsts” to Club Christ.  She is a pioneer in a lot of ways, unafraid to throw out new ideas to see if they stick.  I love to work through the practicality of ideas, so her and I have made a great team!  When I look back over her eight years with us, I can hardly put into words what she has meant to me and this organization.  Here are just a few of the firsts that have made Club Christ what it is today…

  • Our First Brochure
    • I wanted a nice brochure for our new organization and a friend recommended I reach out to Kendra Perry (later to become Kendra Dyson).  She whipped up a beautiful and professional trifold that really impressed me.  Her artistic talents have been such an HUGE asset to Club Christ over the years and they will be missed.
  • Our First Time Opening a New Center
    • After five years at our original center in North Las Vegas when I sat down with Kendra at her job interview to share how we hoped to launch a new center in Henderson.  She told me that when she was a little girl she had done an outreach in Landsman Gardens and that she remembers God gently impressing on her that she would return to that neighborhood someday.  She did an amazing job leading that center which had some of the wildest kids I have ever met haha!
  • Our First Mac User
    • “You use a Mac?”  Kendra had a Macbook before it was cool to have a Mac haha. Now we all have them.  She is definitely a trend setter. 

Evan, Executive Director 

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Kendra you are so awesome because of your heart for others. It has been a pleasure serving alongside you the past four years and witnessing the wonderful ways God uses you to love everyone around you. You were such an influential part of me joining staff with Club Christ. Serving under you as a volunteer from 2012-2013, your devotion to the students, community and your family inspired me. I LITERALLY wanted to join the Club Christ team because I wanted to love others the way you did. Little did I know God would use you to encourage me to join the team and take over this community you treasure. Over the last two and a half years, I don’t think there has been a single day in the office or center where you didn’t ask me about my day, Katie or if I needed any help. No matter how busy we were or how chaotic the moment was, you took the time to make me, our team and our students feel valued. I am a better leader because of your influence Kendra, and I am so grateful to be part of this amazing ministry and team because of your encouragement. You saw potential in me as a volunteer, and you empowered me to be the leader that I am; thank you. I will always appreciate you and I’m so touched by all you do for others. Praying for you and your family on this new adventure. –Kendall, Henderson Center Director 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

-Winnie the Pooh 

A Time of Reflection

The 2015-2016 school year at Club Christ has been one for the books:

  • 85 students served
  • 22 faithful volunteers
  • 8 field trips
  • $45,000 raised via the annual Phone-a-thon and Hearts for Hope Tea

Angela, Center Director, Las Vegas Center 

IMG_1785This was my first year officially on staff as Center Director and I really cannot express how much joy has come from this position. I’ve grown as a leader and in my faith as I’ve seen God work through the lives of the kids I serve. It has been such a pleasure seeing their reading abilities sky-rocket, their self-esteem improve, and their compassion and empathy continue to develop. The students I serve are amazing. And even on days when Yobanny is rolling around the ground, every 1st and 2nd grade boy is tattling on each other, and the internet has cut out for the tenth time, I am grateful for this calling God has placed on me. Amazing things are happening in Las Vegas through Club Christ!

Kendra, Program Director 

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Watching the staff grow and create a family culture at each Center has amazed me. To see students improving academically, while learning to love Jesus is what Club Christ is all about. It has happened this year. I can’t wait to witness all they do in the years to come.

Kendall, Center Director, Henderson Center

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Throughout the year I’ve seen God’s faithfulness through bringing students to our new Henderson center. We began this year with only two students, but now we are heading into the summer with 40 total students! Since many of our students are new, many have been introduced to Jesus for the first time this year and it has been incredible to be there for that!

 

Evan, Executive Director 

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I didn’t really know what to expect from Angela as she began leading our Las Vegas Center this past fall.  Her predecessor, Maryann, had captured the hearts of our little ones there. Angela had some big shoes to fill.  What I didn’t expect was that Angela is exactly what we needed for that Center.  Immediately she started putting kids into groups, organizing our intervention program, and utilizing testing that helped us determine where each kids stood academically.  Her Master’s degree in Special Education has allowed us to take kids to the next level.  Now over 70% of her students are reading at grade level or higher!  That’s something that you just don’t see everyday.  Impressive!
Thank you to every donor, volunteer, supporter, and encourager who has made our work possible. We simply could not do what we do without you. We appreciate you beyond words!

Arianna & Sam

Today we are proud to highlight the bond between Arianna and Sam. Arianna is in 1st grade and started attending the Henderson Center last summer. She started out very shy, but has grown to be outgoing and not afraid to show her fun personality. Sam attends UNLV and just started volunteering in March. She has quickly grown to build relationships with our students, leadership team and has begun to take ownership of her role. Sam currently serves with the elementary students and stays to mentor the teen girls during Bible Study!

Why do you like to work with Sam?

Sam likes to read with me and is really nice! Also because she helps me with sight words and learning how to spell.

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Why do you like to work with Arianna?

I like working with Arianna because she is really fun; I love her personality! She isn’t shy at all. It’s so rewarding to read or work on homework together and watch her learn so quickly! It’s opened my eyes to the potential I see in Arianna. I know she can do whatever she puts her mind too and I am so grateful I am able to invest in her!

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” 

-H. Jackson Brown Jr. 

A Learning Experience

This semester we had an awesome UNLV intern, Ryan. Below he shares what he learned over the course of the semester. 
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My Practicum experience with Club Christ has been one of growing appreciation. It started off busy from the get-go and that remained consistent the whole time; it has been the kind of busy that makes you feel important and capable though. In the beginning I was a little unsure how well Club Christ would align in what I was trying to learn in regards to Social Work experience. About half way through the semester I started to understand the lessons that Club Christ had to offer and my appreciation for the agency grew immensely. I began to realize how tutoring positively affects students in both the short-and long-term. The kids are being taught good study habits and discipline, which helps them with their grades and helps them to cultivate important life skills. Working with the kids has been amazing; especially when I started to develop a relationship with them. The moments I have appreciated the most though are the weekly staff meetings. It is during these meetings that I realize how much I learned the previous week and I have the chance to discuss academic and social techniques to help the kids.
IMG_3225One student in particular who has really impacted me is a 3rd grader named Paul. When I first started working with him, I struggled. Paul rarely listened to me and was even kicked out of the Center a few times for his attitude. Then I decided to try and develop a positive non-authoritative relationship with him, in hopes he would be more compliant with a “friend” than he is with a director. His attitude changed so quickly; I was amazed! Since that moment, Paul has become a lot more helpful, friendly, and positive. He has shown me that what we are doing at Club Christ is really having an impact on the kids.
Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light. 
                                           -Norman B. Rice

Five Reasons Why You Should Share Your Story

This semester Club Christ wanted to inspire the young people in our teen leadership program to dream bigger than they ever have, so we decided to tap into the power of stories.

Every week our teens hear a 30-minute story from someone in our local community who has overcome adversity to reach their dreams. And you know what? They absolutely LOVE it. You could hear a pin drop in our Centers because the kids are so enthralled with the compelling nature of true stories.

Here are five reasons you should share your story with a young person in your life:

  1. Powerful Stories are Biblical

Instead of a book full merely of rules and laws, God gave us a book full of stories: heroic adventures, epics, parables, and comic and tragic tales. Before the Bible was written, it was spoken and passed on through the ancient Hebrew’s oral culture. So when you tell your story you not only reflect God’s nature, you get to point to the Creator’s handiwork in your personal journey. Young people need to hear God-centered stories so they know what is possible and what is true.

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  1. Powerful Stories Teach

Sometimes a good story is better than just telling a kid, “Alright here is what you should do.” The principal of Mojave High School came by our LV Center last week and shared how perseverance pays off. His parents divorced when he was young and so he split his time in Arizona as “the white kid” or in Wyoming as “the Mexican kid”- never fitting in with either crowd. He grew up without a lot of money, but knew he wanted better, so he worked hard, both academically and athletically. As an adult, he knew God was calling him back to a community to serve those students who grew up like he did. He finished his story by challenging the teens to work hard and trust in God, who will work it all together in the end.

  1. Powerful Stories Build Bridges

I admit our students could be intimidating at first. One of the best ways to connect with them is to share your story so they can get to know you. This is a generation who is addicted to powerful true stories. Just look at all “amazing human” videos that go viral every day. By sharing your story you can connect with just about anyone. In fact, the teens are surprised by how much they’ve had in common with each guest speaker thus far!

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  1. Powerful Stories Inspire

One simple story that I overheard in college changed my life forever. It was the end of my freshman year and I was a brand new Christian. It was at a conference and we were simply eating lunch when a guy shared about how amazing his “dorm ministry” was. And the idea popped in my head, “I should move into the dorms next year at UNLV!” The thought had never crossed my mind because I was living at home like all my friends. I did move to the dorms that next year and providentially I met the person who co-founded Club Christ with me because she too lived in the dorms! If I hadn’t heard that story my life could have been radically different. Sharing your story with a student in their formidable years will undoubtedly spark their imagination and expand their horizon.

  1. Powerful Stories are Maps

If you want to drive somewhere you have never been before what’s the first thing you do? You pull up a map on your phone to give you the directions you need. When a teenager has a desire to work hard and be successful, they still need our help. I love sharing my dating story with young people: how Vanessa and I met at church, the fact that we decided not to kiss until our wedding day, the bumps along the way, and what marriage means to me. I know that most teens have a different picture in their mind than the one I get to share and their image is often tainted by the world’s awful standards. By sharing your story you can provide another route for them to travel on and that is such a blessing for both of you!

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And now the question is, who will you share your story with?If you are interested in being a guest speaker at an upcoming leadership workshop at Club Christ, please contact us at info@clubchrist.org.

“Good words are worth much and cost little.”

-George Herbert

 

 

 

Dynamic Duo: Ms. Dayle & Chris

One of the components to our success is our volunteers and we truly believe we have the best of the best. They faithfully serve every week and love on the kids. One of these very special bonds is exemplified by Ms. Dayle and Chris.

IMG_2083Ms. Dayle has been volunteering at the Las Vegas Center for almost two years. She began volunteering in order to fulfill her community service hours for school, but loved it so much that she continued to serve! Ms. Dayle is now a senior in high school and plans on attending University of Colorado-Boulder in the fall. She has been such a wonderful and positive presence in the Center and we will greatly miss her. Chris is a first grader who absolutely adores Ms. Dayle. He always asks to work with her and there is a lot of learning and laughter between the two of them!

Why do you like working with each other? 

Chris: Ms. Dayle is a fun teacher. She is nice and funny and she always helps me with my homework. Plus she lets me go on her phone and take silly pictures once I finish my work. IMG_2086

Ms. Dayle: We have always worked together since I started volunteering so we have a lot of inside jokes and a lot of fun together. When I first met him, he was singing a Romeo Santos song and I told him I knew the song, so that was the first bonding moment we shared! A special memory I have is when I gave him a girl name, “Christina”, which he “hates” (but secretly loves). Now whenever he is distracted or not working, I call him “Christina” and he knows he has to get back on track! I’ve loved volunteering at Club Christ because of the positive influence I can have on the kids. 

We love you Ms. Dayle!

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” 

-Martin Luther King Jr

 

 

 

“I’m Scared…”

“There’s been a shooting in the neighborhood.  Everything is on lock down.  There are police everywhere.  I don’t know if we will be able to get back into the complex.”

These are words that rang in my ear just a few weeks ago. When I arrived at Club Christ, the scene was just as it had been described.  Cops everywhere, police tape- the whole nine yards.

It was gang related.

Fewer students showed up to Club Christ that day.  Some of the parents were afraid to let their kids come outside for fear of retaliation. As we ushered our students into the Center, there was non-stop chatter about what had happened.  I knew this situation had to be addressed; they needed to talk about how they felt and what they saw.

“Someone tell me what happened out there today.”

Maurice spoke up, “I was walkin’ across the street to Deshawn’s house and I saw this van speeding up to the complex.  I watched a man reach into his coat and I knew that it couldn’t be good.  Something told me to turn around and when I did, I saw my uncle on the ground.  He was screaming at me to run.  As soon as I shut the door to my house, I heard Pop-Pop-Pop.  It was really scary.  I thought I was going to get shot.”

Another student raised his hand and said, “Yeah, this man shot this other man and they had to take him away in an ambulance.  I’m scared, I don’t wanna get shot too.”

What shook me the most that day was what Isaiah said:

“It doesn’t bother me anymore.  It happens so much here; it’s pretty normal.  I don’t really even think about it.”

Isaiah was in fifth grade and was completely unphased by the gang violence in his neighborhood.  He heard Maurice’s story about almost being caught in the middle of gun crossfire, yet counted it as a “normal day.”

It pains me to think that retaliation, violence, and numbness to all of it is accepted here. Daily our children are being robbed of their innocence and are being taught by the actions of others what is “normal” and “okay.”

Yet, I am thankful. Days like these push me to take a stand and teach that love is the only thing that will break this cycle. When students arrive at the Center, they are learning about love and forgiveness and they are being raised up as leaders who will stand against injustice. We are providing them with a hope that will not only anchor them, but will guide them to break this vicious cycle.

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Lord, we pray that You protect these precious ones.  Remove the calluses from their hearts.  Let them heal this community with the power of your love. Amen.

This post was originally published in the January 2010 Club Christ newsletter and was written by Candace, the Center Director of the North Las Vegas Center. That Center was open for seven years in Carey Arms before the Complex was entirely demolished.