Hope gives meaning to our situations and to our challenges.
“The wings of hope carry us, soaring high above the driving winds of life.”
This quote by Ana Jacob exemplifies the vision of “Bridges of Hope,” a Latino ministry in partnership with LUCHA and Sylvania Heights Baptist Church in Fredericksburg.
LUCHA seeks to build support for families and individuals through community resources. The challenges that Latinos face necessitate a compassionate program that strengthens education and empowerment. Bridges of Hope began in September 2010 to provide homework help through Study Buddies After-School program. ESOL classes for adults were added this fall.
Who Participates in Bridges of Hope?
LUCHA offers internships which allows seminary and college students the opportunity to work with Latino families. Two seminary students from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond direct the after school and ESOL programs offered to Latino children in the Sylvania Heights area. This program meets on Monday afternoons following dismissal from school. The program is geared to children in grades Kindergarten through fifth. Adult volunteers from the community work with small groups or individual children.
It is the goal of the program to build good connections with the Latino community and an integral piece of the program is enrichment opportunities. Field trips are planned to give children and adults cultural experiences which enable families affordable outings. Previous trips include an Apple Butter Festival, the Rappahannock Regional Library, a children’s play, Rikki’s Refuge - an Animal Sanctuary, Dixon pool, and Passport Camp.
ESOL classes were added this year on Monday afternoons and Tuesday evenings where twenty-seven adults participate in the classes. Education for adults this year will also include nutrition and skill development classes. It is the desire of Bridges of Hope to purchase computers to enhance learning.
An Opportunity to Volunteer!
Susan Snellings is the director of Study Buddies at Sylvania Heights Baptist Church and helps with LUCHA. She has 3 children and 3 grandchildren (1 more on the way.) She has lived in Stafford County 36 years, is a VTech grad and is completing a Masters of Divinity.