October 1993—KIDS HOPE USA began with a question and a discovery.
We asked experts in law enforcement, education, religion, and health and human services if churches could address the needs of growing numbers of at-risk children. They responded with one voice:
Churches that mobilize and train their members to form one-to-one relationships with the youngest children can make a profound difference in their lives. These children need a relationship with a caring adult!
Many church members wanted to make a difference in the life of a child but they did not know how. And their churches often lacked an organized system to prepare or sustain them for that involvement.
November 1994—The KIDS HOPE USA model was designed to teach churches how to give hope to at-risk public elementary schoolchildren through a relationship with a caring church member. Described as the KIDS HOPE USA Way, the model relies on the interplay of four integral parts:
February 1995—KIDS HOPE USA initiates three pilot sites in Michigan. These programs trigger interest in many other communities, where church and school representatives request program information.
Today—KIDS HOPE USA has helped over 700 Christian churches in 33 states engage their members in the lives of over 11,000 at-risk children. Located in urban, suburban and rural communities, these churches range in size from 40 to 5,000 members and represent over 30 different denominations.