As boys and girls burst through the doors on the last day of school with shouts of joy, we conjure up visions of them jumping into the local pool, riding bikes down the street in packs, heading off for a week or two at summer camp, catching fireflies, or manning homemade lemonade stands. These may be the memories of our own childhood summers.  But the reality for most unfathered and at-risk kids invokes very different images.  Their summers are spent taking care of younger siblings so that Mom can go to work at a job that may or may not pay the bills,  listening to their hungry growling stomachs missing the two meals a day that were provided at school, staying inside because the neighborhood they live in is not safe for outside play, and scrolling on their phones to stave off the boredom and loneliness.

For these kids, school is their safe haven; their community.  Although they may not love the academic expectations and responsibilities of school, they crave the structure and security of the routine.  There are adults there who know them and care about them.  Breakfast and lunch is served every day.  They are allowed to be kids, rather than taking on adult roles. Their classroom will be in the same place today as it was yesterday.  It is predictable, unchaotic.

The reality for many unfathered and at risk kids is one of constant change and upheaval.  Food and housing insecurities overshadow daily living and the day-to-day focus is simply survival.  Bringing a mentorship team around these kids and their moms provides support, stability, and encouragement, as well as connecting them to networks they would not otherwise have access to.  Joshua and Caleb Leadership Center connects these families with mentorship teams who invest in their lives and help them know who God is and who He has made them to be.

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