Melissa Fipps- Parnell Boyd’s Mother
Redirect isn’t your average after school program. The staff has gone above and beyond for my son. Not only have they provided assistance with his school work, they taught him how to purchase items, how to write checks, balance a check book, rewarding the kids for attendance and good behavior. They even teach the kids about the bible! 🙂 The Redirect staff aren’t just tutors; they are mentors, advocates for the kids and our life long friends. I will forever be thankful for Redirect’s patience, kindness and love.
Gary Herrmann- New Alliance Bible Church
I have learned on a short-term mission trip to Mississippi that for a person to effectively help disadvantaged children break the bondage of generational poverty, he or she must be willing to love them as their own. Furthermore, if that person lacks formal training but has love, they have most of what they need to be effective. Conversely, there is no amount of formal training that will substitute for love.
The after-school ministry of C2k is effective because the staff genuinely loves the children participating in the program. This means that they are willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. Furthermore, they understand that their commitment to the children is long-term. I shudder to think what life would be like if Jesus wasn’t will to get his hands dirty and love us long-term.
I am convinced that the model C2k employs in their ministry is a model that works. Therefore, since the staff of C2k loves the children, and they work from a proven model, I have decided to support them financially. It is the light of hope, through love, shining in a place of hopelessness that has profoundly changed me on my mission trip to Mississippi.
Sandy Jones- Faith Community Church
Our trip to Mississippi was an excellent experience because it not only gave us an opportunity to serve C2k Ministries by working with children in the after-school program, but we learned about the mind-set of those who live in poverty. They are trying to show the children they work with how to work hard, have self respect, have a more positive attitude, and support others in their success so they can have a better life than the generations before them. Intertwined in this, Phil and Kym show and share Christ’s love to the children and their families.
I saw how RE:Direct teaches the children to take responsibility for their own actions by having high standards and not letting them make excuses for bad behavior. As the poster on the wall declares, “It’s all about choices-good decisions lead to good consequences; bad decisions lead to bad consequences.”. I believe that Phil and Kym are helping them see that they can have for a better life, and hopefully, a Christ-centered life.
Phil and Kym are embedded in the community and have earned the trust of many people there. They live their ministry, and are committed to the program and the community.
Mueller Family- Faith Community Church
We we very excited to spend some valuable time with our good friends the Schanks as a family. During our visit, we received a first hand view of their after school program Re-direct, which was in full swing for the second week of the 2016 / 2017 school year. My family and Iwere able to help out in tremendous ways, which impacted us and the kids we helped to serve.
What we learned while there is; Mound Bayou, Mississippi is a town established by exslaves. During the boom of the cotton industry, Mound Bayou was one of the main areas the produced high quality cotton. When the decline of the cotton industry started to diminish due to other crops being more valuable to grow, corporate farming took over the smaller farms, leaving their town impoverished. This poverty became generational, and where this happens, the cycle can be difficult to break. On top of these issues, racism and segregation remains a major problem in this area of our country.
Here is how Re-direct, the after school program plays into the picture. Their program works with about 25 kids Mon. to Thurs., helping them with more than their homework. What we experienced was students receiving help in critical subjects that prepares them to be productive in life, whether in the workforce, higher education or maintaining a household. Re-Direct also provides a protein, such as a sandwich or string cheese, a fruit as well as a bottle of water meal for the kids who come to their program. This could be the only meal they may receive for that day, outside of a school lunch. We had the privilege of assisting Re-direct during our week long stay. Each day closes in prayer, in which students and leaders clasp hands to together.
Many of these children made an impact on my life which cannot be expressed in words. Kylan was one of the young men who made a lasting impression on me from the program. I still have the rubber band shapes he gave me, wrapped around the shifter of my truck.
What was really cool to see was the goal that Phil and Kym have to use land, purchased at minimal cost, on which to build facilities for this after school program, which would include their living quarters. Currently, they live in a home in the community, which serves as a safe haven for kids of the neighborhood to hang out in a positive environment. Many times the Schank’s feed and house kids.
One can really see the gospel message comes to life as the Schank’s live in their community of Mound Bayou. You can truly see how they love Jesus by the very actions they show. In fact while we were visiting, a young man named Devin was staying with them as his mother was away. Devin was a pleasure to get to know, and when it came time to leave to go home, there was a saddened joy in my heart.
The major impact for our life is becoming Phil and Kym’s voice at our local church body. These circumstances are still challenging me to be a committed father because of what Christ has done in my life, I am hopeful, God willing, that this trip is one of many in the years to come. These experiences have caused me to challenge other men to properly lead their homes because they have a God given right to do so.
I pray God continues to open doors for Phil and Kym to reach many kids, to make a difference for Jesus Kingdom. God has Blessed you richly Phil and Kym, and as long as you remain in His will, more blessing will come your way. You are an inspiration to these kids, and to me as well.
Linda Dyke- Board Member
I wanted to share with you my experiences in Mound Bayou from my travels earlier in this month (October 2015). I had the honor and privilege of being very welcomed by the C2k staff, children, and the Mound Bayou community. This was my first visit; and was very important to me as it helped solidify everything that I thought I knew with what is going on with the ministry, and seeing it in action. Since I manage the C2k finances, I have window into the Re: Direct After- School Program and Mound Bayou through the checkbook. It was exciting to meet the children and/or recipients of all that we have been praying, working, directing, managing, and financially supporting. During my visit I also attended the REAL Christian Foundation’s Milestone Celebration with the C2k staff and 2 students with their families.
My hope is that this email offers an inside-out perspective of the ministry since many of you haven’t travelled to Mound Bayou yet. Here are some observations of a few things that I never knew.
1). Memphis is the closest metropolitan area to Mound Bayou, about 1-1/2 hours away; and Phil & Kym have no problem driving that as often as necessary. I think they view it the way we would a drive to Brookfield. The landscape is flat and undeveloped most of the way to Mound Bayou. I got to see a few bayous along the way too, which are quite picturesque.
2). Mound Bayou and communities often have water boil alerts in affect due to contaminated water supply. Megan told me that in the year she has been living here, there have been 5 water boil alert/drinking bans. During my visit, the town of Cleveland had a water boil advisory in affect. The surprising part is that everyone is used to this and boiling water & drinking bottled water is no big deal. Trying to buy a ready-made coffee from a café was challenging though.
3). Driving around the community of Mound Bayou with Phil & Kym: they know everyone! They are always waving to someone on the street, stopping for a quick chat, or discussing an upcoming event that involves both parties input.
4). Phil & Kym rent a 3-bedroom home on a corner lot which is organized very well for guests to come stay with them. It is comfortable. I got to see their home being used for preparing the snacks/meals for the 21 children after school, the making of gift baskets to be used for fundraiser events, the assembly line of signatures for all types of greeting cards from thank you’s to birthday’s. Though it is expected, it was amazing to see how well thought out their gratitude and appreciation is for those that support them: never forgetting a child’s birthday- to the group involvement of the community to sign thank you cards for something that was kind and thoughtful. It was amazing to see that within minutes of a text to their friend on the local police force, he was there to sign the thank you card in uniform! Note: most household activities have the TV sports channel on in the background for updates on all sports. Phil & Kym are very committed sports fans.
5). Phil is one of the certified interscholastic coaches of the local middle school and high school teams. Currently he is one of the varsity football coaches. Obviously this is a time commitment once the After-School Program has ended for the day; and then onto spending additional time with more young people of all ages. He is well respected and therefore an attraction for good advice, support, encouragement, and coaching expertise. He mentioned to me several times that his presence as a male role model is vital to these young children who have grown up without a male influence. It is evident that Phil’s male presence is necessary for the positive development of these challenged children; and more men are needed to move this program forward. There is talk that Phil is going to be a varsity baseball coach as well. Kym is at the games, serves as a booster club member and very involved in the behind-the-scene organizing of teams including registration, uniforms, bringing snacks, giving rides, etc.
6). Phil & Kym are god parents to Zanayla (Baby Z) and Brooklyn (Amy’s White’s daughter) in the community.
7). On Tuesday nights Phil & Kym are involved in serving the college students with the RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) meetings at Delta State University. I got to attend with Megan Munro and Linda Dorsey. Phil is part of the student worship band. After worship, there is a sermon by a pastor, and then fellowship time with food. Megan runs the audio visual during worship. Kym talked with many, many students. Who doesn’t she know? The students from this program are the ones that volunteer their time at the RE: Direct Program. After witnessing these interactions, it was evident how much Phil and Kym care for these young adults, and how deeply affected and scared for them they were during the Delta State shooting last month. The shooting occurred one building over from where they worship. Board member Seth Still is the over-seeing pastor of RUF at Delta State, but I did not have the opportunity to meet him. Seth has been called to duty with the Air National Guard serving as a chaplain. Seth, you have a wonderful ministry and what a timely message presented that night. The students are well-connected with one another and there is a very welcoming atmosphere. I look forward to meeting you!
8). I got to meet Linda Dorsey, the Family & Child Counselor that works with students during the After School Program and meets with the children and their families once a month in their homes. The children work very well with her. She is quick to laugh, and bring an atmosphere of love and acceptance to the program. It was pleasure getting to know her the short time I was there, but already know that I have a very good friend in Mississippi.
9). Re:Direct Program Director Megan Munro has lots to do! She is the executor of the After School Program Monday through Thursday for two+ hours each day. Megan oversees 21 students from 1st grade to 9th grade. She has the children on a tight schedule and they understand the flow and expectations during those times. Megan has volunteers which help supervise the afternoon activities. The program starts with a meal/snack, rocket math (timed math tests), homework, custom academic activities that support school-classroom goals, group participation project time (a skill that these students struggle with), structured playtime, bible time once a week and prayer. These activities vary depending on the day. I got to help with homework and witnessed a range of academic abilities. You could feel the struggle, frustration, and disappointment within themselves when trying to perform a task of something they know they should know. It broke my heart. I also got to witness the joy, satisfaction, and confidence grow in some children who got the right answer right away and knew that they had mastered a concept. No matter the academic struggles, I can see that this program offers a safe place for these children to come – knowing that they are cared about for who they are as a person and that they matter.
10). Phil & Kym are wonderful hosts. They are great tour guides and the surrounding communities have a lot to offer. The barbeque is amazing!
I chose this time of year to come to Mound Bayou to also participate in the R.E.A.L. Christian Foundation’s annual banquet in Jackson, which is a 2 hour drive from Mound Bayou. This year was a very big deal as the founders Drs. Dolphus and Rosie Weary who were being honored for their 44 years of mission service in rural Mississippi. R.E.A.L. stands for Rural Education and Leadership Foundation. After 30 years of working in a Christian community development ministry, they founded the Rural Education and Leadership Christian Foundation. Dolphus and Rosie recognized that the most effective and productive way to achieve community development is to enable people to help themselves. Currently, R.E.A.L. is providing support for twelve rural Christian outreach ministries, including C2k Ministries. Their mission is to connect resources, provide grants, and technical assistance for community-based Christian ministries in rural Mississippi in order to enrich the lives of underserved children youth and families.
There were over 750 people in attendance at this banquet. The outpouring of love for these founders was deeply felt. Up until that night, I didn’t know them; but felt like I have been missing something by not knowing them. Being involved in an event like this had me feeling like I was involved in something very large – much larger than myself; but somehow I had a place in it at the same time. What a humbling thought.
Kym & I manned a table with promotional literature for C2k and a drawing for a raffle. It was exciting to see the interest in what C2k is doing in the Delta. Phil & Kym were on the guest list to have breakfast with Dolphus and Rosie for breakfast the following morning at their office. I attended too with about 20 other people. I had the opportunity to personally meet them, got hugs, sincere wishes of thanks for what I do for the ministry, and for taking the time to be there.
Board, in a way you were all here with me because without your support I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, or had this tremendous Mississippi experience. That being said, without you all – Phil, Kym, Linda, Megan, and all the volunteers couldn’t be doing what they are doing for the community. So I extend the offer to you all: grow your part in this life changing plan for this community – come to Mound Bayou and see LOVE in action.