2022 Update Letter from the DIRECTOR,Val Petry

IMG_0001.JPG.jpeg

I grew up and raised a family in Madison County. I have been married to my husband Jeff for almost 32 years.

We have 3 grown sons, one daughter-in-law and 2 granddaughters. I graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1987 with

a BS in Nursing and completed a Master of Arts Degree specializing in Children, Youth and Family Ministry in 2018.

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. In January of 2019, we extended our reach and opened a 2nd location serving children at 10th Street Elementary. By March of 2020, we were blessed with a great team of 38 volunteers and 45 college students serving 80 children between both locations. Little did we know that we would not be returning to regular programming after spring break that year. 

Unfortunately, we were unable to resume programming during the 2020-21 school year due to the Covid pandemic. Thankfully, we were invited back into both schools in September of 2021. We knew this could be a year of challenges as we strive to resume our program after the interruption due to Covid. Our focus and priorities would be in recruiting volunteers, connecting with and hiring more college students, building new relationships with the teachers and staff as well as our new kids and families. God has been faithful this year in providing us once again with the opportunity and privilege to love, serve, and connect with more than 65 children and their families! We have an amazing team of 40 volunteers and have had the opportunity to hire 48 college students to serve on our paid staff. In addition, we have hired a new program site-director for our 10th street location which has enabled us to consider expanding our reach into the community with a 3rd location beginning in September of 2022!

We have been blessed with a strong volunteer base and many generous donors! However, our need is still great, especially as we look to the future in opening a 3rd location. A large portion of our budget is set aside to hire additional support staff, including program site-directors and college students to serve as tutor/mentors. Other important budget dollars are spent providing sandwiches, fruit and milk each day along with supplies needed to use during our one-on-one tutor time. 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 grateful for God's provision and for all the individuals, churches, businesses and organizations who support the mission of A Heart for Kids!   If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me anytime at 765-425-1045 or val@aheartforkids.org.  I would love an opportunity to share more with you about A Heart for Kids!

Blessings, 

  Val