Headquartered in Dallas, Project Transformation’s (PT) mission is to engage nearly 1,000 young adults in purposeful leadership and ministry, support underserved children and families, and connect churches to communities in need. Major initiatives include after-school and summer-camp programs.
“Project Transformation provides kids a safe environment to come and play, learn, have homework help, and safe food after school while their parents are either working or have other things going on,” said Jamie Newton, site coordinator at Grace United Methodist Church.
Newton said that many children who come to the site are normally on a free and reduced lunch program at their school.
PT strategically places its programs in churches, located in urban or low-income communities. This partnership between site churches and PT allows churches to make connections with those in need in the surrounding communities.
A typical day at PT includes several energetic children eager to play after a long day at school. Children usually line up to get their boxed dinner at 3:30 p.m. Volunteers pray with the kids before sitting down at the table and discussing their days at school.
After eating, the children play tag and other imaginary games outside on the playground. Following recess, volunteers and children participate in reading, arts and crafts, Bible time and homework help. When the clock strikes 6 p.m., parents start arriving to take their children home.
During the 2015 after school program, 73 percent of the children increased their literacy skills, 94 percent became more interested in reading and learning, and 97 percent were promoted to the next grade level.
During its summer youth program serving 621 children, 96 percent maintained or improved reading skills and 98 percent felt more confident reading. During its high school program, 89 percent said they were more confident in making future education and career decisions.
PT not only impacts children’s lives, it also changes the lives and perspectives of its volunteers. Larry Randolph worked as a volunteer for PT during his college years.
“My second summer I was working with a kid who is one of those kids you have to show tough love to, he was one of the toughest kids in the program,” Randolph said. “At the end of the program he started crying and saying how much he was going to miss me, and that’s when I knew I had changed his life.”
In time, PT hopes to expand to branches across America.