September 29, 2020
Dear Friends,
Beneath everything we do—every tool, resource, strategy, and meeting—you'll find three commitments we funnel everything toward: mentoring youth, strengthening families, and building healthy communities. 

And as the fall of 2020 has begun, we've been working hard at investing into those three commitments. Here are some important ways we've done that recently.
Give Today to Building Healthy Communities in the Miami Valley
Jarrod, an MVLF mentor, signs onto Zoom. His screen soon fills with the familiar faces of Shannon Todd, MVLF's Mentoring Program Director, other mentors and their mentees, and—most importantly—Carson, Jarrod's mentee. For sixth months, Jarrod has met with Carson, learning his love for all things board games. Recently, Carson has grown less interested in games and more interested in talking with Jarrod during their E-mentoring calls. Carson found that the Zoom calls made it easier for him to talk to Jarrod. Unexpected as it was, it has led to Carson opening up. "He does seem happier and looks forward to talking to his mentor," Carson’s mom shared.

E-mentoring began as a way to sustain mentor-mentee matches during the difficulties of COVID-19. As it revealed new opportunities for mentoring, MVLF took note. "We want to create more opportunities to help connect caring adults to students who need that investment, especially during this time," shared Shannon. 

To do that, MVLF is utilizing two online mentoring platforms: CricketTogether and iCouldBe. Through CricketTogether, designed for students eight through twelve years old, mentors connect with mentees online to help them with reading while making regular investments. iCouldBe, an online program that helps students cultivate relational networks, pairs professionals, trade workers, and others with students desiring to cultivate and invest in their own networks for career opportunities. Both of these programs, Shannon shares, help ensure students enjoy the safe investment of a caring adult while closing the all-too-often overlooked opportunity gaps that affect students, particularly those in under-resourced neighborhoods.

All a mentor needs is a WIFI connection. 

And with these new opportunities come the need for more mentors. So, MVLF is looking for fifty E-Mentoring mentors. By growing fifty mentors strong, MVLF can further combat the isolation, loneliness, and debilitating effects of many students' current situations.

Shannon is hosting an online information session at two different times for anyone interested. Please click the link below or send it to someone to learn more about E-mentoring!
Sign Up for an E-Mentoring Information Session
In July, we shared how one of MVLF’s Hope4Communities, Hope4Riverside (H4R), found a way to continue serving its community with an important back-to-school event, the "Day of Giving Back."

On August 25, H4R joined with teachers, administration, and volunteers from Mad River Local Schools at two sites, where they met families to supply backpacks full of donated supplies from the local nonprofit Crayons to Classrooms. In less than thirty minutes, each site had donated more than 1,000 backpacks.

As the final cars and vans full of families and new school supplies pulled away, all those serving at the "Day of Giving Back" knew they had given more than backpacks: they had given a little hope in the midst of a lot of change.

Pastor Dan Powell, the Hope4Riverside director, shared:
"I thought it was a great day of the community coming together in the midst of very difficult circumstances…. The business community came together with the schools and the churches to bless the families of the community as they start a new, difficult school year."

For more than two years, Sarah Pelphrey has invested time, energy, and creativity into seeing Miamisburg become a thriving community.

As the Hope4Miamisburg Director and MVLF’s Community Specialist, Sarah provides partnership, collaboration, and support to community partners from many sectors of community care and leadership. She embodies a deep love and commitment to the idea that showing up and sticking around lead to meeting a community’s needs.

"MVLF loves communities, churches, families, and youth. I love my community and am passionate to help the Church rise up to meet the needs of the community."

What Sarah pursues in Miamisburg, she sees for the entire Miami Valley: "I envision Hope4Communities rising up all over the Miami Valley and thousands of mentors pouring into our youth!"

And on those rare occasions Sarah isn’t connecting with leaders or serving neighbors, you may find her enjoying a Killer Brownie from Dorothy Lane Market.

We’re thankful for Sarah and grateful for the ways Hope4Miamisburg continues to shape a flourishing future for its community.

The MVLF Team