Happy New Year!
God accomplished more than we could have ever imaged in 2020 (despite the countless challenges). We can’t wait to see what He does in 2021!
We have so much to be grateful for!
In the midst of a pandemic, we discovered countless areas where we could continue serving – we even found new opportunities to invest more deeply in the lives of our neighbors.
- In the Spring, we mentored virtually, and delivered groceries and meals.
- In the summer, we served students through a summer camp.
- In the Fall, we turned our creative arts center into an academy of sorts, doing daytime education with students 4 days per week.
Here’s a snapshot of that impact, in visual form.
Your generosity fueled every bit of that work. Thank you!
READY FOR SOME EXCITING NEWS?
Our staff family is getting bigger! We welcomed 3 new staff members to the Lead Collective team.
Kenny Gilliland: Lead Collective, Operations Director
Kenny G is a retired Air Force officer who has spent his 21 year career in Communications and Information career field and landed in Powdersville, SC in 2009 with his wife Sherry and two boys, Drake and Miles. Sherry is on staff at Grace Church PVL and the boys are currently studying at Clemson.
After retirement, Kenny has been dedicated in supporting students from under-resourced backgrounds through his church and community. He spent 4 years on staff with Grace PVL as minister to guests and leading the men’s program. He also landed a position with the Frazee Center to expand and grow the existing Mentor Greenville program. He helped expand the program to become what is now known as Mentor Upstate which encompasses much of the Upstate.
He has a passion to serve and lead. He enjoys helping organizations become more efficient and effective through use of technology and automation. His hobbies include martial arts, swimming, hunting and meeting new people.
Needless to say, we’re honored, and thrilled to have Kenny join our team!
Erskine (EJ) McKinney: Lead Collective, Program Coordinator
EJ is 21 years old, raised in Greenville South Carolina . He grew up with his aunt in West Greenville until the 5th grade… the following summer he moved to Nicholtown. This is the first time EJ has worked in youth development but he was a part of the frazee dream center and Eleos as a student, so he understands the kids from a different perspective. EJ attended JL Mann and graduated in 2018. He’s excited to start the basketball league this year for the students. This is a brand new program that he is building from the ground up. In EJ’s words “let’s kick this off……!!”
EJ is a go-getter, and an Enneagram 8…! He brightens up the office, and brings a ton of energy to our team. I (Cam) met EJ on the basketball courts when he was probably 14. He and I later went on a backpacking trip with GOAT – I never could have dreamed he would become a co-worker of mine, and such a great friend.
Katelyn Gray: Lead Collective, Office Administrator
Katelyn worked in Operations at InvestiNet, a financial company, for the past six years and served on the Humanitarian Council there. As part of the humanitarian efforts at InvestiNet, she organized community fundraising events in Poe Mill and worked alongside non-profits in the area, including GOAT. Katelyn has volunteered with Eleos in the past and filled an interim Tutoring Director position at Eleos for a few months in 2018. Katelyn and her husband Brandon live in Nicholtown with their two young boys, Grizzly and Gavin. They enjoy exploring the neighborhood together and meeting their neighbors. Brandon and Katelyn love student ministry and spent the past eight years working with students at Summit where they attend church.
Within just a matter of weeks Katelyn has gotten us more organized. She is a gracious addition to our team, and we thank God for her!
Due to the Covid spike at the beginning of January, we decided to push our launch date back a few weeks. Programs kick back off February 1.
- Basketball: We will be launching a brand new basketball league that runs through the Spring. We’re excited to provide a structured league for students from our community, who may not have made their school team! This is the first time we’ve done something like this, but the students seem eager to get started!
- After-school: We’re incorporating more art in our afterschool program this semester, along with homework, bible discussions, career planning, dinner, and swim lessons! Grace has been doing a tremendous job further developing our afterschool program, and creating an environment to care for the holistic needs of our students!
- Leadership: Our leadership group continues to meet on Wednesday evenings. We’re studying leadership from the conversation Jesus had with His disciples in Mark 10. We hope our student’s discover what it means to lead like Jesus, in their homes, their schools, and their neighborhood.
Want to get involved?
Pray that God would continue moving in the hearts of our students, convincing them of His great love for them, and his grand purposes for their lives!
Serve alongside us. You can serve with us in a variety of ways:
Financially partner with us, to support our on-going ministry programs. Our programs are made possible through your radical generosity. We’re so grateful for those of you who have chosen to support us financially over the years. We can’t do this without your ongoing, and faithful support. Follow the link below to give a one-time gift, or sign-up to become a monthly financial partner!