I know that God brings growth to the seeds we plant and water, but sometimes a different kind of tree grows up than what we were thinking! That’s exactly what happened at SCYM this past fall.
It was my first week on the job as Executive Director and one of the first things on my to-do list was to pitch our 2020 vision in Columbus to a couple looking to make a significant financial contribution in Springfield. SCYM was one organization on a short list invited to come and present. I won’t lie, I was a little nervous to make a good impression, but I gained confidence in knowing they believed in our mission. This particular couple had already taken special interest in our Biz Ba$ics after-school entrepreneurship program at its inception and provided funding to help get it off of the ground. Naturally, I thought they were inviting us to talk about that program, so I invited our Biz Director: Aaron Clark and Grants Administrator: Chelsie Hellwig.
We were warmly greeted upon arrival but thrown a curveball when asked to talk about our programs serving elementary students. More specifically, what we could do to help support the students at Lincoln Elementary. I came in ready to talk middle school programming but quickly realized I needed to pivot.
Our goal when fundraising is never what we want from a giver but what we want for our givers.
As missionaries our aim is to serve everyone who comes to us, whether kids or adults, in a way that strengthens their connection to God.
My friends across the table were on a mission from the Lord. They had a certain amount of money that they had been entrusted with and they wanted to serve God by investing it in the best way possible. My job was merely to listen to them and then share opportunities that could be a possible fit.
We went on to discuss with them all the different ways SCYM serves elementary students in the city and affirmed that we would embrace the opportunity to serve Lincoln Elementary in a greater capacity.
From our conversation they requested I sit down with Mike Wilson, Lincoln’s principal, to talk over what he would like to see made available to his students. Mr. Wilson and I already knew each other from working together at Roosevelt before he took the job at Lincoln and I worked for SCYM. We enjoyed catching up for a few minutes when Mr. Wilson leaned forward and with great care and urgency in his eyes asked,
“Tyler, please tell me more about the Manpower Program you guys do. I really want to see some more opportunities for our 5th and 6th grade boys.”
I explained to him that we had never tried doing Manpower with elementary age boys but after some brainstorming we came up with a plan we were both excited about.
I reported to our Columbus friends what Mike had shared with me and I walked them through the plan we came up with. With great joy they let me know that our vision was right in line with what they wanted their money to go toward, and so they granted us the funds necessary to get it started.
We are so pleased to announce the arrival of Manpower for Lincoln’s 5th and 6th grade boys kicking off in February. Lord willing, these boys will have the opportunity to build a relationship with Manpower Director Victor Eubanks and a few college mentors. Each student will get a Manpower t-shirt, “Stronger Than” devotional book, a snack, and most importantly the opportunity to hear the Gospel, which for some, may be the first time!
Would you join us in praying for this new planting of the Lord? Pray for our leaders and for the students who are going to be entering into this brand new opportunity to learn and grow!