The 10:10 Bridge: Making a difference in lives of at-risk children

By Martha Thompson

LEXINGTON—Great news: Your child has been nominated to participate in The 10:10 Bridge After School Program.

Can you imagine the excitement from a parent or a child when this letter was received from New Providence Elementary School’s principal Van Bowers, New Providence ES Mentor Director Lisa Baker and Mount Horeb Director of Children’s Ministry Janis Albergotti?

The 10:10 Bridge represents a unique partnership among New Providence Elementary School, Mount Horeb UMC and Christ Central Ministries (The Nehemiah Project). The idea is that one church, one school and one afternoon a week can make all the difference in the life of an at-risk child.

The staff from Mount Horeb UMC had been praying for several years for an afterschool program to impact the lives of children in the community. It was a perfect match when Baker, a member of Mount Horeb, and Albergotti began to ask God for guidance to help establish a partnership with the church and the school. And with that, the ministry started.

“Jesus invited children to come so He could bless them,” said the Rev. Jeff Kersey, senior pastor at Mount Horeb. “Mount Horeb invites children through 10:10 Bridge to bless them with God’s love, mentoring and affirmation. In John 10:10, Jesus offers abundant life to all. We believe this afterschool ministry is a great opportunity to bless children so they might have a better chance to experience the abundant life God offers.”

The focus was to establish relationships with the children in a peaceful and nurturing environment, one-on-one contact and to help them know they are loved and valued.

“We wanted the children to experience life abundantly,” said Albergotti—just like the Scriptures say.

The program is committed to preparing children to be successful in school, at home and in their community. They are encouraged to do the right things at the right time, in the right way for the right purpose. The adult mentors, who are affiliated with the project and members of Mount Horeb, participate voluntarily because they care about children and serve as role-models.

“One of the things I love about working with the 10:10 Bridge is that you are paired with one child,” said Denise Hudson, a Mount Horeb volunteer who served as a mentor last year. “Children will ask, ‘What other kids do you see at my school,’ and the mentor will say, ‘I’m only here for you.’ It makes them feel so special.”

All involved said the mentors are making a difference in the lives of these children.

Bowers, principal of New Providence, said, ”10:10 Bridge is a strong partnership program between New Providence Elementary and Mount Horeb UMC that does a wonderful job of creating a positive environment after school where children’s academic growth and character development are nurtured.”

Each Tuesday for 10 weeks the children participate in a structured afterschool program designed to give hope and a positive direction to their lives, as the mentors assist with academic, social, emotional and character needs.

“Having a mentor can change the trajectory of a child’s life,” said Baker, who oversees the relationship between Mount Horeb and New Providence. “Through this program we are able to provide kids with the opportunity to have the full attention of a caring adult, in a safe environment where life change can take place.”

Thompson is a member of Mount Horeb UMC and a mentor for 10:10 Bridge.

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