Volunteers of the week: Curtis and Bianca MayPublished 10:26am Monday, January 13, 2014
Curtis and Bianca L. May run Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries. They reside in Vandalia. To learn more, visit their website at ourfathersfamilykeeper.org or call them at (269) 476-1257
What services do you offer through Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries?
We have an after school tutoring program Monday and Tuesday from 3-6 p.m. at Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School. We provide them with a light meal and transportation home. On Wednesday, from 5 to 7:30 we coordinate a Bridges Out of Poverty class and we also provide a light meal for that group as well as babysit for those parents that need it. That is conducted in the Vandalia Village Hall. It encompasses Vandalia and Cass right now. We also have transitional housing that is for women who are homeless, pregnant teens or mothers with kids who need a place while they transition to living on their own. It is in Vandalia too.
What is Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries?
It is a ministry that kind of puts our arms around the whole family. In addition to the after school program, we do a number of academic initiatives. For instance, we hosted in 2012 a four week summer school program with the assistance of many people in the community. We are planning for 2014 a summer school program for five weeks because our kids don’t have summer school and we aren’t doing well academically. In the summer kids tend to lose what they learned or really need help solidifying what they were supposed to learn but didn’t. We do Lakeside Fellowship and we do overnight camping.
What is your role with the ministry?
We are the founders. It encompasses activities we’ve done since we’ve been married for 19 years. We have groups from Chicago that come to use our Lakeside Fellowship, we have churches and groups that come from Kalamazoo that utilize our day Lakeside Fellowship as an avenue for team building, or for the kids just to get away from the normal electronics, to be outside and kayak, canoe, play basketball. To have fun the old-school way and get some exercise.
Why do you think it’s important to give back?
It is crucial. Somehow we’ve moved away from the village concept. Right now we also provide free childcare to single moms who are either in school or are working part time and just don’t have that kind of money to be paying for babysitting. When I have these babies I look at their innocence and think about the kids who were involved in Columbine, Sandy Hook. Those kids are not just a product of bad parents or bad schools. Their community let them down. We as a community have a responsibility to these kids because we know where they are going. Without helping with their self esteem, their academics, helping them to understand they can have fun without cussing and fighting — old school stuff. We lost it it looks like, but it’s crucial we get that back. We need to help those families become stronger individually and collectively so that it makes our whole community stronger. It’s not just about one family, it’s about all of us. We all sink or swim together.