November 24, 2020
Dear Friends, 

Thanksgiving arrives a little differently this year. But one thing that isn't different is how thankful we are for our communities, our volunteers, our partners, and for you. This year, we have seen the MVLF family and its impact grow and deepen in ways we could never have imagined. And we're just getting started. 

We have seen a lot of things change during this long year. 

  • We connected mentors to help area youth overcome isolation and enjoy safe mentoring relationships through online mentoring. 

  • We empowered neighbors and volunteers to enable families to overcome financial difficulty and food insecurity through neighbors hosting “grab-and-go” lunches and making food deliveries. 

  • We collaborated with partners to help communities overcome unprecedented challenges in their schools, businesses, churches, and neighborhoods.

This year, we saw more backpacks, computers, water bottles, toiletries, bags of food, gallons of gas, and hours of time given to youth, families, and communities in the Miami Valley than we can remember. 

Like we said, a lot has changed this year. 

And we invite you to give to this exciting, meaningful change in the Miami Valley. 

Your end-of-year gift ensures we can continue to help youth excel, families, succeed, and communities thrive. 

Give to Change in the Miami Valley
In this year of change and new normals, the power of relationship, friendship, and connection—even if it's through a screen or through a mask—remains the same.

Throughout the year, MVLF volunteer mentors have helped Miami Valley youth combat loneliness, isolation, and frustration. Zoom calls and hand-written letters from mentors to mentees and their families have filled the empty spaces left by restriction related to COVID-19. But despite restrictions, mentoring has maintained an exciting—and much needed—momentum. In many ways, COVID-19 has been no match for MVLF's mentor-mentee matches.

Recently, Shannon Todd, MVLF's Mentoring Program Director, answered a call from a local school. They had a young student whom they wanted to connect to a mentor. And it wasn't long until Steve, an MVLF mentor, walked in to the school—mask and all—to meet his new mentor match.

"I was filled with nervous excitement wondering if this little guy was going to like me or not," shared Steve. "What would we talk about or would he even talk at all? Thankfully our first meeting went extremely well, and I am looking forward to getting to know him. He's a cool kid!"

MVLF and the school took the proper precautions to ensure everyone enjoyed a safe and healthy time together. And Christian enjoyed his time, too. "It was great. I had fun," shared Christian. “I really liked having someone that will play games with me."

Moments like this, of adults going out of their way to invest in the lives of youth in the Miami Valley, are the norm for MVLF mentors in a world full of new normals. And we can't thank our mentors enough.

"Although it has been a strange year, we are more committed than ever to continue bringing caring adult friends into the lives of the young people in the Miami Valley," shares Shannon, MVLF's Mentoring Program Director. "Every young person deserves to have someone in their corner, rooting for them, cheering them, encouraging their dreams, refining their goals, and helping them achieve success for their future. And our mentors have not stopped doing things despite the physical distancing, canceled meetings, and an unknown future. MVLF mentors continue to write letters of encouragement, join Zoom calls, and communicate with MVLF to see what they can do to connect with their mentees.

"There aren't enough words to truly express how thankful I am for every volunteer mentor!"

MVLF engages people of faith and good will to build healthy communities.

And our board members demonstrate how central partnership is–and the collaborative, capacity-building opportunities that come with it—to that end.

We’d love to introduce you to one of our board members: C. Ralph Wilcoxson II.

A board member since MVLF’s first days, Ralph understands why MVLF is unique in the area and how it seeks to transform the Miami Valley through mentoring youth, strengthening families, and building healthy communities. “MVLF is working for everybody all the time through stable neighborhood development,” shared Ralph.

Ralph envisions a transformed Miami Valley where building leaders and mentoring youth are the city’s status quo. And he’s confident MVLF will accomplish that through its “unquestioned commitment to Christ, His body, and His people.”

Something fun to know about him is that his favorite dessert is pecan pie.
Thank you, C. Ralph Wilcoxson II, for all you do as you serve on the MVLF board and serve the Miami Valley.

The MVLF Team