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I trust this note finds you doing well. As always, thank you for your very generous prayer and financial support of RedZone Ministries. It would be impossible to do the work we are doing in Orange Mound without your involvement.
Our intense levels of activity in Orange Mound continue to be productive and we are very encouraged by the results. I’m also encouraged by the level of engagement from the staff and volunteers who work so hard to positively impact the lives of men, women, and children who live in the Orange Mound Community.
We have hit a balanced stride in our ministry programming and have reached a point in our journey where, to do more, to be more effective. . .more space is very necessary. So, please pray for our next steps as we look to “connect good intentions with sound planning/economics” relative to pursuing resources for capital development. But until we get there, let me update you quickly on all that’s been happening since my last post. It has been an incredible last few months.
Club, Activities & Such: The spring semester was filled with lots of activities that fostered positive experiences. Our weekly Transformers Club (outreach) averaged 77 students per week with the largest club being 92. We are grateful to all the volunteers who supported the weekly clubs by providing meals & supervision. Our weekly Transcenders Bible Study averaged 24 kids per week. More than to two hundred high-schoolers experienced great fun at our special events like the lock-in, fall break outing, and the end of year club. Every day last year 57 students walked through the doors of our small building located at 2876 Park Avenue. On an average, 93 kids “dropped-in” to hang out at the building and participated in the activities we had planned just for them. Throughout the year more than 230 students, about 1/3 of the student population at Melrose High School, were engaged with RedZone Ministries last school year. That is the result of some incredible work from staff and volunteers.
Academic Enrichment & Extended Learning: Our education department continues to provide cutting edge after-school and extended learning opportunities for students. Our after-school programming provides students with tools and resources that equip them to build upon their academic success. RZ provides a safe environment where students are assisted with everything from homework help, to online access to ACT prep, to graduation preparation, to career and life readiness opportunities. RZ’s educational component supported more than 100 “unduplicated” students with the majority of them participating more than 30 days throughout the semester. If you are looking for a mutually beneficial mentoring opportunity. . .reach out to us. We should be able to match you with a mentee. If interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whew! Getting students graduated and enrolled in college is hard work. But, we worked diligently alongside parents and teachers to make sure students graduated. All of us were invited to graduation and cheered for our kids when weren’t supposed to, just like so many of the “other parents.” And then came summer’s end, when a good number of our graduating seniors prepared to leave for college. While we stopped short of sponsoring one big “trunk party” we did round up some of the supplies needed by our college-bound students.
Community Partners: Carnival Memphis selected RZ as one of its supported children’s charities this past year. They became one of our community partners and engaged in supporting RZ through their numerous activities. We enjoyed getting to know members of the different Krewes and all of the royalty. The whole year was filled with fun and “parties with a purpose.” Thanks to Ed Galfsky and the many Carnival Memphis volunteers who helped to raise close to $40,000 for RedZone’s outreach programming. HIP, HIP, HOORAY!
Theater Memphis has become a favorite partner. The staff and volunteers are uniquely gifted in their craft and have been able to use different mediums to engage students who show up to “The Building”. We have done art projects, had jamming music sessions, and even cranked out a one song cd, written, produced, and performed by the RedZone Kingz. . . They’ve add at least two live performances and have been paid in hamburgers and a small stipend. They may change their name to “The Wimpys”.
Summer Camp 2015: The majority of our weeks this summer were consumed by getting ready for 2 weeks of camping. We had 48 spots to two different camps, one at YoungLife’s SharpTop Cove in Jasper, GA and the other at Kids Across America, in Branson, MO, so we spent much of our time signing kids up (25.00 deposit), then allowing them to work off the balance of 175.00 through community service. The average cost of camp was about $467.00. After it all was said and done we took 48 kids to camp who had never been to camp. That’s right. . .all first timers and they had super wonderful time.
More importantly, every student was exposed to the Gospel in unique and creative ways and by all indications came to understand that God loves them and desires to be in a relationship with them. A number of our campers responded to this message by deciding to become a follower of Christ. Praise God for new birth and new life.
A New and Different School Year: We are already moving full steam ahead. Not only only are we deeply entrenched in the halls and classrooms of Melrose High School, but we have rekindled our relationship with Hanley (now Aspire/Hanley) Elementary School. Through a partnership with Sending Out Urban Leaders, S.O.U.L., RedZone Ministries is now involved in outreach to elementary-aged young people who live in Orange Mound. We hit the ground running here to and are already some success, as the school has welcomed us in with open arms. If you, your family, or Sunday School class are looking for ways to “get connected” with elementary-aged kids, please don’t hesitate to contact via email me at email@example.com. There are numerous opportunities to plug in.