A Lighted Path is a new non-profit corporation created by St. John the Divine in 2022. The purpose of A Lighted Path is to be the umbrella organization under which new and significant community engagement initiatives are launched—for our City and beyond. By reaching beyond the walls of St. John the Divine through A Lighted Path, we will increase awareness in our City of important unmet needs, and invite our neighbors to share, serve and bring new perspectives to this work. We trust in the Lord’s grace and provision to use all of us to bring His love to our City and His kingdom on earth.
Background: In 2021, building on its history of generous outreach, St. John the Divine launched a major initiative called the Community Engagement Project to discern how the church could meaningfully enhance its impact through significant community engagement. Volunteers formed three teams to study disparate outcomes in the areas of education, employment, and housing. After months of research and reflection, the Community Engagement Project teams aligned on a shared focus: improving outcomes in our city for the very young, for school-aged children, and for young adults aging out of foster care.
New Initiatives: One of the first new programs to launch, Adults in Training, is focused on young adults aging out of foster care. Through A Lighted Path we are partnering with DePelchin Children’s Center to leverage professional and volunteer resources focused on providing support, opportunities, and navigation to 20 young adults (ages 18-20) residing at DePelchin’s supervised independent living facility. This initiative, our Adults in Training program, is available to all DePelchin residents. We are working to provide positive interactions, loving insight and valuable tools designed to help our Adults in Training achieve stability in education, employment, and housing when they must leave DePelchin at age 21.
Strong Start, the second program to launch under A Lighted Path, is working to help improve early childhood education in Houston by partnering with Collaborative for Children and its Centers of Excellence program. The Centers of Excellence program currently works with 50 early childhood centers in childcare deserts to enhance kindergarten readiness through mentoring the childcare center directors and staff, engaging families to support a child’s learning and helping the owners and directors of childcare centers develop essential business and management skills. The strengths and talents of St. John the Divine parishioners will leverage the Collaborative for Children’s mission to improve meaningfully the quality of early childhood education in Greater Houston so that 70 percent of children show clear progress toward school readiness.
Volunteer: How you can be a light for our city? Here are four opportunities to bring your gifts to those we serve through A Lighted Path:
• Ally Team to mentor young adults or early childhood educators;
• Professional Team to help deliver training on life skills, or business and management skills or to lead enrichment activities;
• Events Team to plan and engage with those we serve through special events; and,
• Prayer Team to pray as a team for our programs and those we serve.
There is a place for you along A Lighted Path—whether you can engage weekly, a few times a year, or something in between. Depending on your area of interest, some training may be required.