Reno, Nevada, is a city known for its sin. We lead in prostitution, binge drinking, gambling addiction and more. Pathfinders Children's Ministry is a 17-year-old non-denominational Christian organization supported by 25 different churches. With the exception of our Executive Director, the ministry is composed completely of dedicated volunteers. We are called to reach children and youth trapped in the generational poverty culture. This includes "throwaway" kids.
A throwaway child or youth typically has parents addicted to meth, heroin, alcohol, gambling, or is a prostitute. Their addiction is so strong that their children are essentially orphans while in the presence of their own parents. It is not uncommon to see an 8-year-old boy or girl assuming the role of parent, preparing whatever food can be found and dressing the younger siblings. Often, that parent-child has poor or nonexistent school attendance.
One 13-year-old Pathfinders girl expressed it this way: "I miss my old life.....the one where I had no worries, no fears, no stress. I was clueless about what my family did. As I got older I started realizing things more clearly. Then I got the hint that the ones I thought I could trust were the ones hurting me the most. Don't get me wrong, I love my family with all my heart. I just absolutely hate the fact that drugs are more important to them than having a loving relationship with the ones they love."
Pathfinders is a faith-based organization recognized as a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We are committed to three goals: 1. Lead the children/youth to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 2. Teach that the children/youth that they are where they are because of bad choices made by others, but if they make better choices, their lives can be radically different. 3. Education is the key to escaping the generational poverty culture, therefore, a child/youth must remain in school and do his/her best.
Pathfinders currently owns eleven 15-passenger vans to transport kids to our Friday evening and Saturday morning sessions. We provide a hot balanced meal at every session, along with games, counseling and age-appropriate Bible study. We also send kids to summer camp and have an annual formal Academic Achievement Awards banquet. Pathfinders serveskids from kindergarten through high school. Approximately 14% of our revenue comes from churches. The remainder must come from individuals.
Poverty and the living situations that go with it should not condemn any child to a life of hopelessness and lack of opportunity. Many of these kids would likely never darken the door of a church without intervention in their lives. Far too many exist under the radar of society and never have exposure to the things that others routinely take for granted.
Our goal in this campaign is to raise $90,000 to purchase an additional three used 15-passenger vans to allow us to transport more children/youth every week.