TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – For Bethany Jones, being an educator and shaping young minds is the best job there is.
“I’m around that every day,” she said, “and being able to come here and get a little bit closer, one on one, work with them, that’s what I love giving back to the community.”
Jones also volunteers her time with Free Life Community Church. Every Wednesday night, she helps with the church’s evening program that caters to children throughout the Wabash Valley. There, she’s not just a teacher, but a friend to little ones who need it.
“You go in sometimes, maybe you’ve had a bad day or maybe have a bad attitude,” she said, “and you come in here and you just see these kids eyes light up, they smile at you, they come and hug you, it makes your day a lot better.”
For organizers, it’s about filling a growing need in the Wabash Valley.
“I’ve been here 15 years,” said Dr. Dan Willis, Senior Pastor, “It’s just been a need this community has since I’ve been here, and it’s really gotten worse and expanded.”
With the church’s weekly program, they’re hoping to help change that. The program offers mentoring, activities, transportation as well as a free meal to the children who attend.
Willis says it’s all about setting an example and helping children along the path to success.
“We’ve seen that sometimes kids have every example of what not to be, and we have decided we can’t save them all or fix them all, but what we can do is be a great example as best as we can for those that are willing to accept it,” he said, “We help them with whatever needs they may have, whether it’s homework, or just advice or how to be, behavioral things we deal with that a lot, but really it’s just being their friend and teaching them that you don’t have to be what you’ve always been, you can change it.”
Every child comes with a story, and for volunteers like Jones, it’s about helping them along to a brighter chapter.
“No matter what they’re going through, what their circumstances, they are loved,” she said, “and not being able to have kids myself, I want to reach out to them and help them get through those situations.”
If you’re interested in learning more or enrolling a child into the program, you can contact Free Life Community Church at 812-242-9556.