The organization is based on the Bible verse John 10:10--"I came so that they may have life and have it to the full (abundantly in some translations)." Boy, do the people working there really live this out! They take the lowest students from 5 different neighborhood schools and just build them up in every way possible. There are high expectations for the kids, and they know exactly what they should and shouldn't be doing at By the Hand. While we were there, we played games with the kids for a little bit, worked with them on their reading for 30 minutes, played some more, and ate lunch.
I can't even begin to explain the impact working with this organization had on me. Each and every staff member there was so on fire for God and so in love with each kid that came to the club. You could tell they would do just about anything for each one of them. In return, the kids really enjoyed coming to By the Hand and felt safe and secure in doing so. Mr. Al, the director of the Engelwood site, kept thanking us for "pouring in to our kids' lives," but he really poured in to our lives with his uplifting devotions, willingness to help us, and his genuine love for what he does.
If you want to look up this organization and learn more about them, here is their website: http://www.bythehand.org If you're looking for a worthy cause to donate money to, this is it! It costs $5700 for each student to participate in this club, and BTH had 700 students participating in their 4 locations around Chicago! Thanks to donations, each student's "tuition" was completely paid for them. What a blessing!
I was so touched by what By the Hand does that I feel led to try to start a summer program like that in Athens. It may be a challenge, but I really feel that God sent me to BTH to place this upon my heart. It's amazing how God works, and I'm excited for what may be in store for me and the city of Athens in the upcoming year!