Vestry Report to the Congregation

After nearly 5 years, the New Horizons Super Kids Club will enjoy its last session in St. Mary’s Parish Life Center on May 11.  Current, former and potential future St. Mary’s tutors and speakers are invited to join the celebration at 3:45 that afternoon.

Clergy, vestry and congregation of St, Mary’s are proud to continue our support of New Horizons as it moves to new accommodations at Oak River Church, 10951 E. Terry St., (between Old 41 and Imperial).  The library provided by our congregation will move with the program, and the $11,524 designated in our Outreach account for New Horizons will be used for them.  Tutors are encouraged to continue their invaluable service to the children.

Since 2018, teachers, students and volunteers have worked with nearly 150 children in our Parish Life Center, helping them with homework, improving social and language skills, reading for pleasure, enrichment programs, Bible readings and praise and worship songs. Volunteers came from our parish and word-of-mouth brought more help from other churches and communities. Our highest enrollment was 37 students right before COVID. This eventually settled to a more comfortable average of 30 students.

We are so proud that the Super Kids Club was able to manage through the COVID pandemic with virtual learning when necessary and with careful safety protocols when classes reconvened. Last summer’s year-over-year scholastic scores showed that the St. Mary’s site (2022 vs 2021) had increases, not decreases, in key academic metrics. Many are to be congratulated for making this program a success.

Church leadership made a big leap in going from passive annual support of New Horizons to active involvement as a learning site for at-risk elementary students. The Diocesan Community Fund was approached and provided the seed money to start the unbudgeted program. Generous donors kept the ball rolling and then the Diocese responded again to our request, with a grant to start a lending library. Generous donations came from three parishioners, which doubled the funds to buy 200+ books for all levels of reading ability, and resource books and magazines.

Our tradition has been to celebrate graduation with those 5th graders who are “moving up” to Middle School, and to host a small reception with families who are available. This year we have our most graduates…9 students! Graduation will be held at 4:30 on Tuesday, Mary 9th.  On Thursday, May 11th, we have our last day and celebrate with the final party, starting around 3:45 and ending promptly at 5.

Thank you all for your support of the New Horizons Super Kids Club. We look forward to St. Mary’s continued support for this special organization!