Mentor reaches at-risk children through faith

As a longtime volunteer for Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services Summer Lunch Program, Kris Augsburger finds joy in serving children. 

Kris worked for many years as a learning support aid for Smoketown Elementary School up until 2016. During her time at the school, she discovered that children who struggled the most often had issues at home that impacted their ability to learn. 

The issues were often beyond what the school could address but she longed for a community program that was Christ-centered to add balance to a child’s life. 

CVCCS founded the Rooted Afterschool Mentoring Program in 2016, an initiative that Kris supported from the beginning. Rooted is modeled after the Center for Champions in Harrisburg, Pa. to match children with an adult mentor one-on-one. Both programs are Christ-centered and seek to help a child build a relationship with an adult based on trust and consistency.

In her third year as a mentor, Kris meets with her mentee every Tuesday during the school year at CVCCS. They sit at a small table together, eat a snack, and talk about their day and about what is going on in their lives. Fun and educational games to boost math and reading skills, team building activities with the rest of the group, and a Bible lesson round out the session. 

Kris said she enjoys the program and feels blessed to be a friend to a child in need. She is especially grateful that CVCCS invites the children’s families to a special Rooted Dinner three times a year so she can get to know them as well. 

“The boys that I have mentored during my first two years couldn’t have been more different but both experiences were wonderful,” Kris said. “The child I mentored the first year of the program was very outgoing — confident, popular at school, could make friends easily, was very social, and learned things quickly.

“The next year the boy I mentored had many struggles — at home, in school, and in social situations. I could see his home life affected how he felt about himself and the world around him. He opened his heart to me and talked about what was going on at school and at home. I would tell him that I would pray for him but I wasn’t sure if he heard me or how he felt about that because I didn’t think faith was discussed much at home.

“On the last day, he turned to me and said, thank you for praying for me this year! Sometimes you don’t know how much a child is taking in but they really are taking it all in. When I walk out to my car at the end of the session, this feeling of fulfillment washes over me. I feel it in my heart that this program is reaching children and is so needed.”

For more information about the Rooted Afterschool Mentoring Program, click here.

Kris and her fellow mentors give extra to the Rooted Afterschool Mentoring Program by serving at-risk children. On Nov. 22, will you give Extra to CVCCS through the Extraordinary Give to help us serve our neighbors in need? #igiveextra #cvccs #extragive