A SURPRISING WORK OF GOD
We praise God for the surprising work He is doing through the Bronx Household of Faith, granting our desire to establish Hope Academy of the Bronx, a school for at-risk students in our neighborhood. Out of our existing ministries He is crafting an exciting new context in which we can teach, train, and mentor students and families on a daily basis. We want to tell you what’s happening!
For a general overview of our vision and values, to stay up to date on our efforts, or to find out more about how you can help launch Hope Academy, visit www.bhof.org/hopeacademy.
Or, you can keep reading to learn more about how God has led us to this point!
If you’ve ever visited us, you may know about the backyard—the hub of BHOF’s ministry to the University Heights neighborhood since 1976. By removing the fence that separated two backyards—a 20×30 brick basketball court and a 20×30 patch of donated Astroturf—the people of BHOF created what has served for 40 years as the urban outdoor equivalent of a multi-purpose room.
Thousands of neighbors have passed through or been drawn into our small, 60-member Christ-centered community as we have sought to build relationships in every context possible: after-school boys’ club, after-school girls’ club, children’s choir, tutoring, Friday night teen club, Vacation Bible School, fine arts week, ESL classes, Sunday school classes, neighborhood barbecues—for all these things and more, the backyard and its respective homes have served as a gathering place for children, teens, and parents who need supervision, instruction, and friendship.
But there is so much more to do. Spring has arrived, and every day without fail, by three o’clock, there begins a steady stream of boys into the backyard. They have escaped from school for the day, and they are here to play. At times there will be upwards of 20 children in our yard. All of them are public school students. If the statistics are accurate, 40% of them will not graduate high school. This is a staggering and sobering fact. By the end of this school year, BHOF will have a new building on Andrews Avenue, just down the block from the backyard. It is obvious to us what we should do.
Now is the time for BHOF to begin providing a personalized, strategic, family-oriented education for local students—boys and girls—who currently have no hope of succeeding in traditional school settings. As the building nears completion—a miracle made possible through the generosity of many friends invested in the work here—we press forward to launch our school, Hope Academy of the Bronx. This, too, will take a miracle.
We are a small church with a small building, comprised of families and individuals who live in the community, work in the community, and some of whom already teach in the community. God has equipped our Body with administrative, educational, and relational gifts. God has brought us into contact with countless families in need of help, and we do not want to waste this opportunity.
LAST RESORT, REAL HOPE
Our plan is to open Hope Academy in the fall of 2014. We will welcome a starting group of ten to fifteen 5th-grade students who have been essentially ‘stuck,’ with little hope of ever earning a high school diploma. These students, behaviorally and academically out-of-reach in the traditional school setting, need a completely different approach to education—one that includes holistic, one-on-one, mentored guidance from day to day.
TUTORS, MENTORS, FAMILY
In this respect, our small size is our strength: our school will not be an educational assembly-line; it will be a community. Hope Academy teachers will mentor and tutor our students. Volunteers from the church will come alongside students throughout the week, forging friendships and teaching new skills, all the while pointing them to Christ. Staff will visit parents regularly, urging and teaching them to be invested in their children’s education. None of this will be easy, but we are convinced it will be effective.
TRAINING IN GODLINESS
Students will be added each succeeding year until we reach capacity. Big numbers are not our goal. Our long-range vision for the school is as a haven for 40-50 students, perhaps spanning only three or four grades. Hope Academy will be a place where they learn to study, to persevere, to create; to respond well to discipline and direction; to relate to peers and adults in a beneficial way. It will provide these students with consistent structure where they will experience healthy, genuine relationships with godly Christians committed to their spiritual and educational growth. Through God’s common grace, this context will radically re-orient their lives: from failing fifth-graders to high school graduates.
RECONCILIATION THROUGH THE GOSPEL
This is one of the most exciting opportunities BHOF has ever had—an opportunity to forge daily, enduring relationships with students and their families by meeting a critical educational need. But the most critical need is not educational. We are keenly aware of the underlying and ultimate need of every person for life-transforming reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. This is a miracle we cannot effect—our role is simply to bear witness to the Gospel of Christ. But we are convinced that deep, caring, genuine relationships provide not only the most accurate witness to God’s covenantal love, but also the most effective context for this good news to be taught, discussed, and understood. This is what motivates us to pursue with excellence the mission of Hope Academy:
Committed to a Christ-centered education, Hope Academy exists to challenge and equip undereducated students in The Bronx to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength and to live for God’s glory.
The implications of the Gospel of Christ can radically transform students’ academic trajectories. But we want so much more than that—we know that the Gospel can transform their hearts. Please join with us in praying that God would provide funds to start this ministry. Please consider supporting us yourself.
The Members of The Bronx Household of Faith