The John Bender Foundation partners a young adult client with a Christian mentor and awards that team a small grant (between $1000 and $3000) to help that client change his or her life for the better.
Here's and example of a client we helped!
Janice had been sexually abused as a child of six years, and the abuse lasted for nearly a decade. Her sister was likewise abused. We met the two of them when Janice was 21, and still living with the older sister. Given her abuse early in life, it would have been easy for her to become drug involved, but she, along with her sister, had made an early life decision to “not become like our Mom!” In fact, Janice had graduated high school, and was helping raise the older sister’s children. She’d been working at the same job in fast food for two years, and was well regarded by her employer, but was stuck in that low-paying field. She either worked or baby-sat almost all the time, and reported that she had “no real friends.” She had little to no connection with the community, much less a church home. She needed to get into her own apartment and get started with her education and her life. Other than the older sister, she had few meaningful family relationships, and felt totally alone. She’d slipped into a clinical depression and had previously attempted suicide several times.
When we met her, she articulated her desire to get started with her own life, and while she wanted to continue to support her older sister by helping with the kids, she didn’t want a life of merely working and tending her nieces and nephews. First, we helped her get into a small apartment she could afford, and we paid the first month’s rent and necessary deposits (total of $700). Next, we helped her register in the local technical college (application fee $25). Finally, because she’d never had a car of her own, we bought her a used car so she could go to college. We helped her get insurance on it ($1700). Our total outlay at that point was $2425. Today, Janice is a fourth semester college student, still working and paying her own way. She obtained enough grant and scholarship funds to go to college free. She’s been coming to church regularly, and is still helping her sister with some with child care. With some funds, and our gentle pushing, she has begun her life, and her face beams when we express our pride in her grades and other accomplishments.
Janice is not yet a Christian, and reports that she is still unsure about the existence of God. However, she is coming to Sunday School on a regular basis and is making a few friends in that context. Having seen compassion and caring from a couple of Christians at this point, as well as seeing a few others willing to make a significant time commitment to her future, we leave her faith in God’s hands, with every confidence that He will handle the rest.
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