What do you think of when you hear the word kindness? Maybe you think about paying it forward, or about a time when someone was kind to you. At our after school programs, we’re learning that kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. We’ve given the students the opportunity to shout out their friends, volunteers, and staff when they see someone being kind and it has been extremely encouraging to see all of the little ways that people are kind every day. Sometimes it can be so easy to get caught up with negative things. To think about times when we're treated poorly or something that isn't going right in our lives. But this simple act of giving a shout out to people who are kind changed that for us at Noah After School. For at least a few moments each day, we spend time thinking about how we could encourage someone else.
God is always on time with each of our units, As a staff, we frequently talk about how God has us teaching each unit so that we would have to learn or practice the qualities in a deeper way in our own lives. Our goal is to help each student grow as a child of God, which involves allowing the Holy Spirit to work in each of our lives. If we as staff aren't practicing what we're preaching, the students are quick to point it out. So as we teach, we're growing too! As we watched students thoughtfully create kindness cards and think about ways that they could do random acts of kindness each day, I was encouraged to be more kind in my everyday life. What is one way that you could be more kind today?
We are excited to welcome Victor Rush as the new Executive Director of Hartford City Mission! No stranger to HCM, Victor has served on our Board of Directors since 2017, and the church he pastors, Ebenezer Temple, has graciously hosted one of HCM's Noah After School sites for the last four years.
Victor Rush is a native of Hartford where he was raised in a Christian home and committed his life to the Lord Jesus at the age of 18. He attended Hartford Public Schools and graduated from Weaver High School in 1980. Victor continued his studies at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy in 1984. In May of 2018 Victor graduated from Hartford Seminary with a Master of Arts Degree in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.
For the last 35 years, Victor has served the people of Hartford and across Connecticut through simultaneous careers in pastoral ministry as well as banking and public housing. Victor's ministry, business, and non-profit leadership experience in our city as well as his sincere commitment to winning the world for Christ make him an ideal leader for HCM.
While Victor's last day as Managing Director with the Connecticut Housing and Finance Authority is June 3rd and his first official day with HCM is the next day, he is already working alongside our outgoing Executive Director, Dave Ambrose, and our Board to seamlessly transition into leadership.
Keep a watch on your mailboxes later in May for our upcoming newsletter, where we will take more time to introduce you to Victor!
I have a rather unusual 10-15 year goal: my hope is that in 10-15 years I will get to “fire myself.” After that point I will no longer work for HCM. I will find another job at another organization, and I will serve the Lord there.
And here’s why this is my goal…
HCM is a “leadership incubator,” if you will. When HCM is doing what it’s supposed to do, Hartford youth are becoming brave, hard-working, God-fearing leaders.
And at some point, 10-15 years down the road… the time will come when one of the students who we tutored through grade school, mentored through high school, sent off to college, supported through grad school, and then hired onto our staff… one such student will be ready to lead this organization. And then I will step down. And they will step up.
That is my dream.
When HCM is finally led by someone who grew up in Hartford, went to school here, faced and overcame the challenges here, looks, walks, and talks like they’re from here… this will mark both the completion of an important piece of our vision, and the beginning of a new era for HCM.
I think about that day — when I will step down, and another will step up. I dream about that day, and plan for it, and pray for it. And as I work towards it, I want to ask you… would you consider helping me accomplish this 10-15 year goal of mine?
Every dollar you invest into HCM is an investment in the next generation of Christian leaders in Hartford. And every dollar hastens the coming of that beautiful day, when God will call the next director of HCM to step up and lead this organization, and will call me and Danielle to take our next step in our walk with Him.
Help us hasten that day. You can do so by giving here: https://www.hartfordcitymission.org/donate.html.
And prepare for the huge party we’re gonna throw when that day comes.
May His Kingdom come,
There are two stories told about Harford. Here’s the first one:
Violent crime. Extreme poverty. Spiritual desolation.
You’ve heard it before — the dark story told about Hartford. A story that casts Hartford as a violent social wasteland… where, if you step foot on the sidewalks there, you’re in imminent danger of getting shot.
In this story, the villains are the gun-wielding predators who lurk around the city, waiting to pounce on their next victim. And there is little hope for Hartford. Its problems are so vast. Its future bleak. In this story, God seems to have forgotten, orforsaken Hartford.
That’s Hartford’s story from an earthly, human perspective. But what about Hartford’s story from God’s perspective? Obviously I can only speculate here… but here’s my best guess at it:
In this other story, Hartford is not a wasteland. It has many riches; it is rich in history. Rich in heritage. Rich in hope, purpose, and brave and beautiful humans who are dearly loved by God.
In this other story, the “bad guys” are not drug dealers or gunmen; they are the dark spiritual and economic forces — the “powers and principalities” as Paul puts it — which strive to oppress the city with spiritual and economic bondage.
And in this other story, God has not forsaken Hartford; He is here, He is on the move, and He has unimaginably wonderful plans for the city.
So which story do you believe in?
It matters what story you tell about a city. The stories we tell have a kind of prophetic power built into them — to shape and influence the people and places that they’re about. And at HCM, we’re on a mission to retell Hartford’s story. We do this in our programs, in our meetings with teachers and principles, and in our interactions with churches in the greater Hartford area.
So when you give to HCM, you’re not just buying pencils and paper for our afterschool programs; you’re helping to establish a new story about our beloved city. One which causes people to reconsider the nature of our city. One which is full of hope. One which allows us who live in Hartford to not feel ashamed about where we come from, but to feel proud of our wonderful city.
So as 2019 approaches — would you consider giving to HCM? And helping us retell Hartford’s story? This is a critical work that needs to be done, and we need all the help we can get in this mission to change the dominant story about Hartford.
If you’d like to help us, you can support our work today. Change the story that’s told about a place, and you change what that place can become. This is why we deeply care about retelling Hartford’s story.
May His Kingdom come,
You may have heard my friend, Latroya, share her story before or it may be new to you. She is one of those parents, we wrote about last week. Her story is a story of hope and family, right here in our neighborhood.
Latroya and her best friend Britney attended HCM's original program, Noah Sidewalk Sonday School, and it had such an impact on their lives that when they heard 3 years ago that "Noah" was still going on, they knew that they had to get involved again.
The part in her testimony that stuck out to me when I read it again recently was, "The memories of the loving volunteers and staff, memories of the fun we had had, but mostly the memory of how I came to know Jesus. How my eyes and heart was opened to my Savior. I needed my children to experience this. I wanted them to be a part of something so great. A place where they would be able to grow spiritually in a fun, exciting environment. In three years of them attending HCM, that is exactly what my children have received.
Want to read the full testimony? Click here.
Both Latroya and Britney, believe in God's work through HCM and are committed to volunteering at the after school program, encouraging other parents at Parent Empowerment meetings and are beloved friends and supporters of many of our staff.
My challenge to you today, echoes the last few words of Latroya's testimony, "I am hoping 20 years from now that it (HCM) is still available to the children in the Hartford community." It is with your faithful support, that we have come this far! Will you consider making a gift today or a monthly contribution to help ensure HCM's continued presence in the community?
Thank you again for all that you already do. Our work in North Hartford wouldn’t be possible without you.
May His kingdom come,
If you’d like to make a donation you can give online immediately! If you would like to make a donation by check, please make it payable to Hartford City Mission.
Our mailing address is:
Hartford City Mission
P.O. Box 320397
Hartford, CT 06132-0397
When a mother or father living in Hartford has a child, they have the same hopes and dreams for that child as any other parent anywhere.
They want their child to be happy. To be healthy. To go to a good school, make good friends, go to a good college, and get a good job. He or she dreams of their child having a joyful and fulfilling life, just like any other parent. After all, it’s their child; and they love them.
If you’re a parent raising a child in Hartford, you face a host of challenges that many mothers and fathers don’t face: full-service grocery stores (i.e. access to good food at a fair price) are nearly non-existent. Securing a decent education for your child is a struggle. Entry-level jobs for high schoolers looking to enter the workforce are scarce.
These challenges among others greatly compound the difficulty of offering your child the life that you want them to have. And so tragically, many Hartford parents (and grandparents and aunts and uncles) simply aren’t able to give their children the lives they want to.
That’s the current reality of our city.
But I believe that God has different plans for our city.
I believe that God is right there alongside Hartford mothers and fathers… dreaming with them, and working with them against all the obstacles, to secure better lives for their children. I believe that God has plans to change things in our city. And our work at HCM focuses on partnering with Him to enact this change.
For years we’ve been quietly working with Hartford families… towards a different city. And if you’d like to help us further this work, then I’d like to invite you to support us by giving financially to HCM:
And sure, I could talk your ears off, telling you about all the programs, initiatives, and ways in which I see HCM enacting change in the city. But that’s not why I’m writing this email.
I’m writing to remind you of the point of it all. At the end of the day, it all comes back to that first dream that a parent living in Hartford has when their child is born… a dream for that child to have a good, happy, fulfilling life.
We at HCM believe this dream of Hartford families is good, and right, and achievable, in our city… with God’s help. And in 2019, we’re going to be working harder than ever to see that these dreams of Hartford parents come true. Would you consider helping us achieve this?
Thanks for all you do. And Let’s be praying that God does big things in 2019.
May His Kingdom come,
Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the 4th Annual Noah Christmas Store was a HUGE success! Because of you, the store made a difference for families in North Hartford. We were blessed to have so many donors and volunteers working on our store!
One of the parents, who also volunteered at the store shared, "To me it was a really good experience. I was so grateful to be there and see all the families getting their gifts for their love ones. Also I'm very thankful for all the gifts that were donated to the store. The people working there were awesome."
We wanted to let you know just how much of a success the store was this year. See below for some awesome stats: