SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR MINISTRY
- What year were we organized?
We were organized in April, 1997, as an Illinois, faith-based organization, with a Section 501(c)(3), non-profit organization tax exemption status.
- What populations do we serve?
Our ministry predominantly serves populations found in inner-city and low income housing areas, but by no means limited to this group. Approximately 4,000 multi-cultural youth and children ranging in age from 6-19 years old, are served through this ministry annually. The average inner-city household income is around $8,000 a year, is headed by single parents, grandparents or foster parents. It is very rare to find a two-parent (mom and dad) home among these populations.
- How are we funded?
We are primarily funded by donations/contributions from individuals and private partners of this ministry, local businesses that donate services and/or goods, such as Wal-mart, Staples, Print ‘N Copy, Shawn’s Electronical Connections, SpreadTruth Ministries, monetary donations from local churches and food donations from community wide food drives, as well as from the Central Illinois Food Bank in Springfield, IL and Midwest Food Bank in Bloomington, IL.
- What differentiates our work from other organizations like ours?
The target of our work is children, young people and adults that are “at risk” for being involved in gangs, violence, drug addiction, drug dealing, pornography, prostitution and all other kinds of criminal activity. The diverse cultural, denominational, socio-economic and gender representation of the volunteers with this ministry is a major advantage in helping this at risk population develop a positive, well-rounded, world view.
- What significant contributions do we make to these children on a regular basis?
There are significant contributions made to the children by bringing neighborhood festivals to inner-city streets, which consists of fun and games, prize give-a-ways, 3 on 3 basketball tournaments, free concessions throughout the events, such as snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy and funnel cakes, while ending each festival with a hot meal for everyone. The greatest contribution by far, is [that] the children are safe from gang/criminal activity and violence when we are in the different neighborhoods conducting the festivals, where they can have fun and just be children.
We also offer through the AFCM facility, training in social media networking, entrepreneurial advice, janitorial/maintenance skills, leadership development training, still photography, audio/video equipment training, lawn and yard care and maintenance service, hands-on training opportunities in preparation for Illinois State Food Service Handlers Licensing class and test; all of these with access to a computer lab, with internet accessibility; a gymnasium with air hockey, ping pong and basketball rims for leisure time enjoyment during facility open hours, and so much more. Parents/adults have opportunity to shop, free of charge, at the AFCM food bank weekly to ensure proper nourishment for themselves and their children.
6. How does our program benefit our community as a whole?
Our program benefits our community as a whole by building relationships with volunteer mentors, educators, business owners, executives and others who would not normally be accessible to these particular populations. Building healthy relationships often brings about positive changes in the choices and decision making processes that may not have been an option in the past for some. We further believe our program helps prevent (if not totally eradicate) crime, by changing the course of many valuable “at risk” lives.
How can my Ministry/Business/Organization help?
A. Financial Support is an essential to the success of stopping the violence in our communities:
1. Finances are the #1 resource item needed when it comes to reaching the inner- city population. With financial assistance, almost everything that is needed for a successful event can be purchased.
B. Donating Services is an essential to the success of stopping the violence in our communities:
1. Donation of services is certainly an option for businesses and organizations, in that many of the needs of this ministry are connected to the upkeep and maintenance of equipment, vehicles, machines, etc. Any form of helping to off-set the costs of operating this ministry through a donation of needed services will be greatly appreciated.
C. Serving/Volunteering your time at the STVP festivals is essential to the order and organization of the festivals:
1. The open-air festivals are multi-faceted and require many, many man-hours, which cannot be successful without those who serve/volunteer.
D. Flyer Distribution is how we get the information concerning the events to the people that are targeted.
1. Those who distribute flyers have an opportunity to see up close and in person, the very people and their neighborhoods we will be serving through the STVP festivals.
E. Prayer support is essential to the success of stopping the violence in our communities:
1. Prayer is probably one of the most needed components of stopping the violence in our community, especially in the inner-city areas.