A student-run program mentoring underprivileged youth at the Hartland Apartmentcomplex in Jackson has made big changes recently, joining Area Relief Ministries’ Helping Us Build Club.
The HUB Club is Area Relief Ministries’ way of giving back to the Jackson community through its campuses in Hillcrest Apartments and the newly added Hartland Apartments.
The change creates new opportunities to serve the children who live in the Hartland Apartment complex in Jackson.
A new leadership team divides responsibilities among four people: Ian Draper, executive director, Kaelin Large, activities director, Will Tucker, volunteer coordinator, and Brittany Julian, communications director.
The addition will add more organization and structure to the program, which will help to promote stability in the lives of the children to whom the organizations minister.
The leadership team is working together to plan and organize weekly events and Bible studies with children.
In addition to these changes, prospective mentors are now required to complete a training session to better understand poverty and how the children live.
Large said members of the leadership team hope that the new training will allow mentorsto better communicate with the children and have a better understanding of their situations.
“We need people to, above all, overcome their differences and understand that they are different from those kids and will completely love them through their differences, and overlook (those differences) in ways that are healthy,” Large said.
“They will need to seek to serve the kids selflessly and sacrificially, because that’s what these kids need right now,” she said. “These kids need someone to show them they are loved nomatter what.”
Those involved hope to integrate tutoring into the program, Julian said.
“In the future we hope to add tutoring as an element, because tutoring and the arts are two of the most important things for fostering growth in a child in an at-risk situation,” Julian said.“You need both [aspects], and we are looking to add that.”
The biggest struggle for the program now is to find a place to expand its organization to meet the needs of both the organizations in the community.
HUB Club Hartland is not a Union-affiliated organization, but all the current members are Union students.
“We want people from other universities and other schools in Jackson to be a part of it – it’s not just a Union thing,” Julian said.
The group seeks new mentors willing to make a long-term commitment and help the program to continue to progress. Those chosen to join the organization would encourage and support the 35 children enrolled in the program.