Monthly Archives: August 2015

Can You Be a Mentor?

Francine MarchelleMeet Francine Marchelle, Director of Broad Street Afterschool.  Francine spoke in worship last weekend and shared her expertise, enthusiasm and vision for BSA during a Minute for Mission.  Below, she talks about the effect of a mentor in her own life, as well as her hopes for Broad Street Afterschool.

Francine was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.  She remembers being mentored by her fifth grade teacher, Elaine Pearson.  Ms. Pearson’s interest and care nurtured resiliency and hope in Francine during a period when she needed those gifts.   Decades later, she still recalls Ms. Pearson going the extra mile to show her a different world, including bringing her to a Columbus Orchestra performance of “Peter Pan,” which helped her see herself as an artist with talents to share.  Francine knows firsthand what a difference a mentor can make; how the kindness and coaching of a mentor can convey new life.  Francine’s own experience fuels her commitment to the children and families in Broad Street Afterschool.

Francine expands on her Minute for Mission by responding to a few questions:

How does mentoring benefit kids?
First and foremost, mentoring benefits kids by enabling them to identify new ways to live and think and feel.  Mentoring gives them an experience of a different perspective, a different way to be in the world.  Mentoring models opportunity and establishes a support system.  Kids can ask questions, share concerns and interests with an adult who is not their parent or guardian.

Mr. Ken and MylesHow does mentoring benefit mentors?
We learn from children  how to mentor them.  We participate in the growth and development of children.  Mentoring is an expression of intergenerational learning.  We’re learning, too.  We’re figuring things out.  Mentoring gives us an opportunity to value what we bring to that child.  Often we don’t realize the importance of what we have to offer.  BSA will allow us mentors (coaches and tutors) opportunity to develop a reciprocal relationship with a child.

What is changing at Broad Street Afterschool?
This fall we are moving from homework help to homework coaching.  For example, with coaching the interaction between the child and adult can shift from a conversation only about how to solve 4 + 4 to include the reasons we are doing math. Also, we can coach children to make homework completion a habit of learning.

BSAWhat is one of your goals for Broad Street Afterschool?
We want to reset the bar and encourage more engagement between student and adult.  I will coach our homework coaches.  BSA has always looked at the child holistically.  We want to take this to a deeper level with the goal of children achieving their highest possible level of education.  When children have trouble with schoolwork I always encourage them to say “I am not dumb.  I am smart.  I just don’t know something yet.”

To learn more about being a mentor (homework coach and tutor), call or email Francine at  A training will be held on September 1, 2, and 3, 5:00-7:30 pm, with interested volunteers attending two days. Those interested will be asked to fill out this application.


To Be Grateful

I came across this piece of writing from Henri Nouwen this morning, a few days after finishing last Sunday’s sermon.  It seemed so relevant to what I hoped I was saying when I was preaching “Leftovers.”   Nouwen invites us to be grateful for all of our lives, including those parts of our life that are filled with sorrow, failure and rejection because all of our lives has made us the people we are and brought us to this present moment.

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy,
but to be grateful for all of our lives-
the good as well as the bad,
the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow,
the successes as well as the failures,
the rewards as well as the rejections-
that requires hard spiritual work.

Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say “thank you”
to all that has brought us to the present moment.
As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget,
we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.
Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now
and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.

-Henri J. M. Nouwen

Today I invite you to give thanks to God for everything that has brought you to where you are now.


Why Ride?

Tomorrow some Broadstreeters will be riding 25, 50, 75 or even 100 miles in Pelotonia.  Others riding 155 and 180 miles will spend Saturday night at Kenyon College and continue the second portion of the ride on Sunday.  The latter won’t be in worship with us on Sunday.  But they will be involved in a spiritual practice.  This week I asked a few of them “why?” Why are you riding this year?

Susan says, “…Cancer just seems to be everywhere, impacting everybody. In the last months I have witnessed one friend lose her fight with cancer, another end her treatment, and yet another begin hers… Being in the presence of those struggling with cancer, I have witnessed unbelievable courage, resilience, faith, and inimitable strength which have influenced my own resolve to do what I can in this fight. So …riding my bicycle 50 miles…and raising $1250 to support the researchers who stand a chance to find cures, seems the least I can do.”
Rick says, “My children.
My wife.
My parents.
My community.
Riding by this husband @ mile #80 something.
Cancer’s life needs to end.”

Sean says, “…the cause is near and dear to my heart…grandmothers, grandfather, and close family friends have all been affected by cancer in some form or another…the combination of the personal physical challenge, the camaraderie with my family and friends who are also participating and the cause all became important components and motivators. Additionally – I quickly came to [consider] the long rides with my Dad out in the Ohio countryside …a version of sacred space.”

Jim says, “… for the past three years I have ridden and was inspired to ride as a tribute to my wife who is a Cancer survivor.  …[D]ue to health concerns and a failure to get sufficiently in shape, I have opted to be a “virtual rider” and let my supporters know that I will not be on the road…  I will be praying for an uneventful ride once again this Saturday/Sunday; patience for those drivers who may be inconvenienced for a few minutes to allow for the safety of the bike riders; for those researchers who will benefit from the funds raised; for each of those who has suffered, is suffering, or has lost the battle with cancer; and for an increased awareness of the public of the need to support medical research…”

Ginny says, “It is hard to sum up my reasons and emotions for Pelotonia…I can tell you I have big tears in my eyes right now just thinking about it!  Pelotonia is one of the greatest things I have ever been a part of …to fundraise, train and complete something that makes such a difference in research and healing and curing…is amazing!  …Imagine bikers as far as you can see in quiet motion, just the sound of the whizzing tires, starting down High Street as the day is …waking up…People line the streets all along the way cheering, holding up signs: “Thank you for helping to save my Mommy.”  …It’s not just the riders that count! There are so many volunteers and supporters financially and physically who make up this huge effort!  It is such an honor and thrill to participate. I hope I am able to do it for many years to come.”

Carol says “I want to be part of a community with one goal…. Beating cancer!!! I hope this ride will give hope to those in need of a cure.”

Bill says: “I am convinced that one of God’s miracles to us daily is the wonder of research like that being done to crack the code on cancer – in all of its mutations.  It touches us all and I have felt it.  I ride because we have created something in Columbus that allows us to put a shining light on those miracles.  And I ride for some very special people to my wife and me.”

In its first six rides, Pelotonia raised more than $82 million for cancer research.  Tomorrow and Sunday, let’s keep the riders in our prayers, and all cancer survivors…as well as those struggling with cancer today.

Thanks be to God for each and every person giving their time, energy, money and prayers to our community’s Pelotonia effort to ‘crack the code’ on cancer.