"If a boy lives in a home with no male present, who is going to teach that boy to be a positive and productive man?"
A boy learns who he is and what he’s got only from another man. A boy cannot learn how to become a man from other boys, nor can he learn it from women. No one has ever taught these boys what it means to be a man. They have never been validated, nor affirmed. They have never had someone believe in them. This is where we come in.
Relationships Change Lives
We believe that pairing a young, fatherless young man with a Christ-centered mentor will produce true life change. Our mentoring focuses on consistently showing up and modeling the love and character of Christ. We love no matter what, just like Jesus did.
More is caught than taught.
A mentor’s relationship with his Forerunner has to be founded and based on trust and love. Without trust and love, a relationship will not amount to much. Our Forerunners don’t care what you know until they know that you care.Through your example, the Lord will use you to show our Forerunners what it looks like to truly be a man. Actions speak louder than words.
Trust the Process
Transformation does not happen overnight.
Kinder-2nd grade Foundations Program
Discuss character, academic standing and potential with mom and teachers past and present
Have mother and potential Forerunner go through an application and interview process
Connect with student’s principal and teachers at local elementary schools
Each student will participate in our Foundations Program from 3-6pm on Monday through Friday to focus on building a strong foundation of literacy in a Christ-Centered environment
3rd-6th Grade Equipping Program
Recruit and train mentors
Pair each young man up with a Christ-Centered mentor who will lay the relational foundation of trust and love by spending time and investing with the Forerunner
Each student will participate in our Equipping Program from 3-6pm in our Equipping Program on Monday through Friday to focus on equipping our young men with the tools needed to fulfill their God-given potential in education, character, and leadership
7th-8th Grade Development Program
Each young man in our program will continue building a relationship based on trust and unconditional love
Each student will participate in our Development Program from 3:30-6pm on Monday through Friday to focus on helping our young men transition from boyhood into manhood by guiding him through adolescence with a focus on Christ
9th-12th Grade Mentoring
Our Forerunners continue learning about importance of character, leadership, and education by following the example of his mentor. We also require all Forerunners to participate in AVID as well as one more extra-curricular activity.
We love for our Forerunners to participate in positive activities such as Young Life, church youth groups, etc.
Our mentors take necessary steps to ensure that our Forerunners are in good standing academically, emotionally, and socially so our they can thrive on their own when the graduate from high school
A Mentor Has Three Jobs:
Showing up is the most important thing you can do as a mentor. When you show up with a smile on your face, you are communicating something to your Forerunner. You are showing them that they are worth your time. You are telling them that they are worth hanging out with. You are instilling value in their life. When a Forerunner sees their mentor walk in the door, he thinks to himself “My mentor came to see me. I am the only reason why he came today. I must mean something to him.” Our kids are not mature enough to verbalize that, but that is what they are feeling.
How do you build any successful relationship? You spend time with that person. You are with them. You learn new things about them and you experience life with them. You make them feel important. You make them feel valued. And you do that by showing up.
Our desire is for our mentors to speak truth into the lives of our Forerunners. We want our mentors to encourage our Forerunners with every word that comes out of their mouth. It is said that to ‘encourage’ someone was to open up their chest and to insert courage. We can do that with the words we speak over our Forerunners.
“I can’t do it.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“Why can’t you be more like…”
“I’m not smart enough.”
“I don’t matter.”
“You’re a bad kid.”
Whether from the devil or from their environment, those are just some of the lies that our kids hear often. We have the opportunity to combat those lies. We help our Forerunners see themselves how the Lord sees them by speaking the following truth to them:
“You have what it takes to succeed.”
“I love you and I’m proud of you.”
“I like you for you, not for what you do.”
“You are a Man of God. A history maker and a world changer.”
“You matter to me.”
“You have a good heart.”
“I believe in you.”
When our Forerunners see us coming, we want them to think, “I love when my mentor shows up because I always feel better after we talk. I know that he is for me and in my corner. I know he loves me for me.”
We do not want them to think, “Oh great. Here comes my mentor. He’s going to tell me how I need to do better at school, act better at home, and dress nicer. Sometimes I feel like I’m his project and he’s trying to fix me.”
Our words matter. Our tone matters. Our facial expressions and body language matter. You can insert courage into the hearts of our Forerunners every time you show up by speaking truth that displaces lies from the enemy.
If our kids are doing one hundred things wrong and one thing right, focus on that one thing. Be positive. Don’t worry about fixing their circumstances. Just focus on loving them. God will take care of the rest in his perfect timing.
Having an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important part of being a mentor. As a mentor, you cannot give away what you don’t have. More than anything, we want our Forerunners to love Jesus Christ with all of their hearts. They will learn how to do that by emulating you.
Don’t get me wrong. We want our Forerunners to learn as much as they can from you. Some things they might learn from you might include:
How to succeed educationally
How to deal with conflict
Being a supportive husband and father
How to cook
Managing your finances
How to hunt
The skills listed above are good things, but they are not the most important things. The most important thing is knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as King of your life and growing in intimate relationship with Him. An apple tree produces apples. An orange tree produces oranges. You will produce your character. If we want our Forerunners to be humble, we first must be humble. If we want them to be kind, we first must be kind.
We focus on building a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in each one of our mentors. You cannot give what you don’t have and we want our mentors to be overflowing with the character of Jesus Christ. The most important example a mentor can show his Forerunner is his own intimate walk with Christ.We are not here to produce good men. We are here to produce whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ.
We want to do everything we can to help you in your own personal walk with Christ. We are here for you and want to serve you in whatever capacity we can. We encourage you to get into community and a church home where your spiritual walk can be nourished. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to serve you in that way.
A Mentor Provides:
The Covering of a Father
Our Forerunners do not need any more friends. What they need is a father figure. So how does a godly father act? How does he carry himself? As we emulate the perfect Father, we want to be a faithful, fatherly example for our Forerunners to follow.
Attention - “You matter more than anything else.”
Our kids crave your attention. For some of our Forerunners, they are not receiving any individual attention from a positive adult. By stopping what we are doing and spending time with our Forerunners, we are saying to them “You matter more than anything else right now.” This shows them that they matter.
When our Forerunners do not receive attention in a positive way, some negative ways that they get attention could include:
Acting out in class
Dressing or acting outlandishly
Being the ‘tough guy’
Throwing a fit
Being a chameleon - Doing whatever they have to do to fit in
Affirmation - “I believe that you can do it.”
Our kids want to be affirmed. They want to know that they have what it takes to be successful. The enemy wants to lie to our kids and tell them that they are not enough. We get to look our kids in the eyes and say “You can do it. I believe in you. You are enough.” This shows them that it is healthy to take risks and challenge themselves. This fills them with self confidence and a positive identity.
When our Forerunners do not receive affirmation, some negative symptoms of that include:
Lack of identity
Not taking risks
Living in fear
No future for the vision
Inability to fail
Acceptance - “I love you for you, not what you do.”
Our kids need to be accepted for who they are, not for what they do. When they are loved only for what they do, one of two things develop: a mindset that is founded on striving and perfectionism, or a mindset founded on apathy and lack of trying. When our Forerunners do not receive acceptance, some negative symptoms of that include:
Striving/Perfectionism - “In order to be loved, I must perform and perform well.”
This can be tricky because on the outside, all looks well as long as they are performing well. However, so often, the hard work and success is coming out of a negative place. They have success not because they are pursuing excellence, but because they are scared that failure will result in disapproval and disapproval will result in love being taken away.
Perhaps you have seen an athlete totally lose it because they messed up on one play. That kid gave a ‘five hundred dollar reaction to a five cent problem.’ The mistake wasn’t at the heart of his reaction, the fear of losing love or approval was. That’s a big deal to a kid who wants more than anything to be loved.
Apathy - “No one will care anyway”
Ever wonder why it seems like some kids just don’t care? If you ever visit a local school, you will surely find a kid brimming with potential with his head on his desk and a report card filled with zeros. This is a classic case of, “It doesn’t matter how I do. No one will care anyway.” If they bring home straight A’s, there is no response and no acceptance. If they fail every class, there is no response. They ask themselves, “What’s the point in trying?” They have the ability, but they are missing the motivation and desire to do well.
It’s never good enough - “I’m not good enough, so I won’t even try”
These kids have the mindset that whatever they do, it won’t be enough. You might see this if they have a parent so stricken with fear that they fixate on every little thing that their child could improve on. If their kid is doing one hundred things right and one thing wrong, they will get an earful about how they need to fix that one mistake. This is the parent who is upset when their child brings home a report card filled with A’s. This is the parent who wants to know why their kid didn’t score 50 points instead of 42 points. No matter how well the child does, the parent will not accept them.
Our children will search for someone to accept them for who they are. They will find acceptance somewhere. Some negative ways they find this include:
Unhealthy romantic relationships
Even though our Forerunners might not be receiving attention, affirmation, and acceptance at home, we have an opportunity to provide it for them every time we interact with them with intentional encouraging words. We have an opportunity to cover them up in a cloak of safety and security.
Serving the Single Mother
An important part of our vision is to serve and care for the family of our Forerunners, focusing primarily on the mother. Parenting was made to be handled by two people and when one of those partners is not around, it makes things difficult for the one left standing. Our mothers need help in many areas and often have no one around to to support them.
We feel like it is our job, not only an organization but as followers of Christ, to support and to serve these women. It is our desire to have both mother and son live in an environment that is enriching and free from major stress where both people can have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Forerunner feels called to be a connector for our single mothers to the resources in our great community. That includes connecting each mom to a local church and community of believers. We want to open doors that she might not be able to open herself through our connections and resources in Lake Highlands. We want to be in her corner whether she needs help finding a job, fixing her car, or teaching her child.
We want to
Connect mom to a local church and community of believers to offer support when needed.
Be able to connect mom to their son’s elementary school to monitor her son’s academic progress.
Offer financial guidance to help her make the most of her money.
Open community doors for opportunities that could better her life and the life of her son.
Be available if an emergency arises within her family.
The mother agrees to
Be a supportive parent as her son participates in Forerunner Mentoring Program.
Be supportive of the relationship between the Forerunner and his mentor.
Live in the Lake Highlands area.
Have her children attend Lake Highland schools.
Participate in financial training.
Be open to attending and participating in a Lake Highlands church.