Student Establishes Mentoring Program

Becki Bean reads to students.For Maranatha student Becki Beam, the most difficult part of her summer ministry was leaving it behind to return to school. The children she ministered to, apparently, felt the same way.

“We had the kids all work together to make displays showing some of the things they had learned,” Beam said. “Three boys had worked together on one display, and they all wanted to take it home. I finally just cut it into thirds so they would all have something to remember the program by.”

Beam demonstrated both personal initiative and a love for unsaved children last summer when she organized the Hope Mentoring Program. The senior Early Childhood Education major from Sheffield Lake, Ohio, enlisted help from other members of Faith Baptist Temple in North Ridgeville to offer both Christian outreach and educational assistance to underprivileged children in that area.

“I have been working in a tutoring program at Milwaukee Rescue Mission for two years at Maranatha, and I just thought putting together something similar in my hometown would be an awesome ministry,” Beam said.

Faith Baptist Temple’s Sunday morning bus route includes a stop at Colonial Oaks, a mobile home park in Elyria. One of the church bus drivers helped worked out an agreement  that allowed Beam to use the park’s community building rent-free every Tuesday night through the summer. Parents who sent their children signed forms acknowledging they were aware the children would receive religious instruction as well as educational assistance.

Students listen at Faith Baptist Temple.Beam, eight tutors, and four substitute tutors worked with an average of 16 children in grades K-5 each session. They would begin with a Bible lesson.

“A lot of those kids didn’t even have basic Bible knowledge,” Beam said. “We taught them the very basics.”

The children were then assigned to tutors, who spent about 45 minutes working with them on basic educational skills. Students read, wrote, and memorized Bible verses and reviewed math and reading skills. Tutors utilized hands-on activities, worksheets, and games.

“For example, one night, some of the first grade students reviewed a ‘word family’ and read a book that contained many words from the word family that they had just reviewed,” Beam said. “The illustrations in the book were made from fingerprints. The students then extended the activity by using an ink pad and markers to create fingerprint pictures and writing a few sentences describing the pictures.”

The evening concluded with games and snacks.

Children play with clay.“One mom told us she hoped we would be able to help her child with reading skills, but also help them have better morals and a better outlook on life,” Beam said. “I think all of  this really helped challenge some of the tutors, especially the ones in high school, to grow spiritually and become excited about ministry.”

Those positive relationships helped one student accept Christ and others look forward to resuming the program when Beam returns for the summer of 2011.

“My experiences in Milwaukee and at home have shown me there’s a real need for mentoring out there,” Beam said.