A NOTE FROM e DIRECTOR,Val Petry
I grew up and raised a family in Madison County. I have been married to my husband Jeff for almost 29 years.
We have 3 grown sons and one daughter-in-law. I graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1987 with a
BS in Nursing and recently completed a Master of Arts Degree specializing in Children, Youth and Family Ministry.
Previously I worked as a stay-at-home mom and as a nurse for about 10 years until I felt God's leading to spend my
time and energy serving children and families in the Anderson community.
I previously served in a children’s ministry role for more than 19 years at a local church. I have been able to walk alongside children who come from many different backgrounds and have gained valuable insight through this experience. As I look to the future, I find myself with a deep desire to continue serving children and families in the community.
In June of 2017, I met with the Principal at Erskine Elementary. He shared with me the children at Erskine would greatly benefit from a free tutoring/mentoring program provided in an after-school setting. With this in mind, I immediately began pursuing an opportunity to establish a faith-based nonprofit organization called “ A Heart for Kids.” We agreed the target start date would be September of 2017.
Since that time, we have had the privilege to love, serve, and connect with more than 75 children and their families at Erskine Elementary. We have an amazing team of more than 50 volunteers and/or tutor/mentors giving their time and energy to serve. We have 38 students attending at Erskine with several remaining on our waiting list. In January of 2019, we extended our reach into 10th Street Elementary and are serving 23 students at this time.
A large portion of our budget is set aside to hire college students as paid tutor/mentors. To date, we have 17 college students serving as paid tutor/mentors. Their energy, reliability and hard work has brought a much needed consistency to our program and has helped us reach our goal of providing one-on-one tutoring for most of the children.
I am thankful for the opportunity to serve along side many individuals and for the opportunity to partner with parents, the staff and teachers at Erskine and 10th Street. Our goal at A Heart for Kids is to continue to grow the current programs and develop partnerships with other elementary schools as more volunteers and resources become available. Our long-term goal is to expand the budget to include the hiring of directors and coordinators for each school as well as hiring additional college students as tutor/mentors. The hiring of additional staff will be essential as we strive to grow our current programs and begin new ones to reach more children and families in the community.
We are looking for individuals, churches, businesses and other organizations that are willing to invest in the future of children in the Anderson community. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me anytime at 765-425-1045 or . I would love an opportunity to share more with you about A Heart for Kids!