Bayshore Christian Ministries: Equipping youth with spiritual, academic and leadership skills

Courtesy of Bayshore Christian Ministries
Bayshore Christian Ministries’ Create Studios middle schoolers take part in a SumoBot competition.

• Mission: Bayshore Christian Ministries equips East-of-Bayshore youth to grow spiritually, gain life skills and develop as leaders so that they have hope and a future.

• 2018 update: Through its relational and holistic programs, BCM served more than 300 children and youth in 2018. It was a year of both growth and contraction. The nonprofit organization expanded its Vacation Bible School to a third site, grew its Create Studios program by adding more tutoring days and saw the number of youth engaged in spiritual programs more than double in the past four years. But in preparation for the coming season, BCM retired its EPA Fellows Program and O’Keefe tutoring outreach.

During the earlier part of the year, BCM took a step back to complete a strategic planning process to better understand the current needs of its evolving community. The effects of gentrification were prominent, and housing insecurity and economic pressures topped the list of concerns its families are experiencing. In this season of transition, BCM is committed to offering a holistic program centered on helping youth experience God’s love, mercy and grace; a program that provides students with academic support and enrichment to strengthen their educational foundation; and a program where they discover their many God-given gifts and where they can apply them to grow their leadership skills.

Highlights of the year included some of BCM’s high school Leaders-in-Training students volunteering with summer programs.

“I just love the kids,” said Kassandra, a volunteer at Vacation Bible School and CREATE Academy, BCM’s elementary and middle school summer programs.

Kassandra had prior experience working with younger students through the Boys and Girls Club and said she was excited to work with students at BCM.

“You create a bond with them,” she said. “They always teach me something new about being patient and assertive. This job is not easy, but if you have patience, you will have fun.”

According to Kassandra, kids go through things and sometimes they don’t have anyone to talk to.

“I wanted to be that for them,” she said, “to be what I needed when I was younger.”

• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: In the coming year, as directed by its updated strategic priorities, BCM seeks to incorporate mental health education in its programs as well as expand its elementary school spiritual program. It also is looking to expand its robotics program to serve high school students. Donations from the Holiday Fund will support Create Studios, a science, technology, engineering, arts and math middle school program, as well as assist in the launching of a pilot late-night study hall for local college students.

Bayshore Christian Ministries

Location: 1001 Beech St., East Palo Alto

Founded: 1984

Annual budget: $1.08 million

Staff: 23 full- and part-time employees; 338 volunteers


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