What an incredible 2nd half of the school year we had at SOHY! Growth is key to any organization, team, parenting, etc. We have been blessed with a team of mentors and directors that continue to build upon the culture of our organization. We have 56 young men that are continuing to grow in integrity, honor, and self worth. We are truly blessed!
We are thankful for the administrators at the 3 locations that we hold our after school mentor sessions. They are all very supportive of the work that we do with the boys. When we need a room open or a chord for the projector, they are always quick to help. In turn, we continue to stay consistent and faithful to the mission of their school.
We ended the school year with our Annual Stone of Hope Youth Leadership Camp! It was our biggest and best yet. There were 42 boys who attended along with the majority our entire SOHY staff. The boys were each assigned to a tribe for the entire 4 day camp. We held many leadership activities such as obstacle course, canoeing, hiking/ orienteering, archery, and many more fun activities. It was great to see the boys come up with their own tribe chants and cheer on their teammates during all of the rotation activities. Our older boys were incredible at leading their tribes and inspiring the younger campers to push past their comfort zone. We finished camp with a full day at Lagoon! The boys were very respectful and had a blast riding rides! Thank you mentors for making the camp a success.
Our mentor sessions went very well this year! In our elementary sessions, our High School young men have devoted their time to mentor our elementary kids each Monday. Some of the most incredible and beautiful moments happened when we noticed our older boys come alive as coaches, teachers, and encouragers. Wonderful things happen when a person decides to give back. We have seen our boys become more grateful and purposeful. Our elementary kids took time, but are now fully invested in the culture of Stone of Hope Youth! Our most popular session this year with our elementary students has been our 3 on 3 basketball tournament. We lengthened this portion of the program by a few weeks because they were having such a great time working hard, and we were seeing some who needed to learn to put winning and losing into the right perspective. It can feel like the end of the world for these boys to lose, and as a result, they can treat everyone around them very negatively after a loss. We’ve use this as great teaching moments on good sportsmanship. We make sure that we always make each child feel special during every session.
We introduced all of our students to meditation this year. We explained the importance of self-reflection and how we treat others and ourselves. Meditation and getting time alone to be quiet can help manage stress, reduce negative thoughts, increase patience as well as expand our imagination and creativity. It also helps gain new perspectives on difficult situations. It is a lesson we will revisit throughout the years to remind them the benefits of finding inner peace in quieting their minds.
Our high school students learned about love languages such as: how to love our friends and family well, what each of our different love languages are, how to treat women, and the value of proper dating relationships. We’ve discussed how to schedule their time wisely and make homework a priority. Since most of our high school boys are interested in working for money, we began lessons on how to interview and apply for jobs. Our mentors were amazing in giving their past interview experiences, good or bad. Each boy had the opportunity to practice their new interview skills with their mentors. This lesson inspired one of our boys to apply and he got the job! We were all ecstatic for him! He also shared his new experience with the rest of the boys!
Our middle school kids had a wonderful semester as well. We began our STEM project called “Mission to Mars.” We were in partnership with the STEM Action Center of Utah. It was so cool to see ALL of our middle schoolers excited for each of the rotations. We broke up the boys into teams to be in charge of a specific task of our mission. TEAM 1:Leaving Earth/Getting Home, TEAM 2: Traveling safely to Mars, TEAM 3: Landing on/Exploring Mars, TEAM 4: Surviving on Mars. The boys took pride in their teams and the task given to them. We are praying to have some NASA workers in our future.
Yes, we spend every week teaching life skills, leadership, hard work, etc. We also make sure that we make it a priority to do more outside of the Mentor Sessions. FUN is the key so we carved out multiple days for fun Mini Camps and field trips. We spent a Saturday having a Boondocks Fun Day. They had a blast riding go-karts, laser tag, and playing video games. We all had a new experience at iFLY where they went into a funnel to feel what it was like to skydive. We had our annual Snow Shoe Day and our annual SOHY Community Garden Build Day. Every field trip and mini camp gave us the opportunity, as mentors, to get to know the boys even better as we are out of the school setting. The smiles on their faces is what it is all about!
Thank you to all of our financial supporters for blessing our youth. Without your gracious gifts, we would not be able to provide our boys with the many experiences throughout the year. We are always seeking new donors as there is a big need to support our ever-growing organization. Thank you also to our mentors who give their time and effort on a weekly basis. The boys stay in our organization because of the mentors that speak into their lives every week. We are always seeking new mentors to grow our amazing team. If you or someone you know is interested in blessing our SOHY boys, please have them fill out our Volunteer Interest form from the QR code below.
The Stone of Hope Youth Team
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We are almost 100% back! Quarter 3 has been very successful. We are now mentoring at 3 separate grade level schools in West Valley: Elementary,Junior High, and now High School! Our Junior High and High School groups are both at full capacity mentoring and we are loving it. They are doing great. Some of our high school students are having a bit of trouble adjusting to the high school culture. We are making an effort to teach the boys about time management. As we all know, the jump from junior high to high school is a big leap. We are truly believing in all of our high school boys and speaking into their success.
As the summer ended and the fall arrived, we had a great harvest of crops from our SOHY Community Garden. If you remember, last Spring the SOHY boys built a greenhouse and cultivated the land to begin our very first community garden. We had so many vegetables that we were able to distribute them to the SOHY families. Our families made salsa from the peppers and tomatoes and so much more. We are so blessed to be able to help our families and their communities from the hard work our boys put into the garden. We are excited for this coming spring so that the boys can tend the garden for an even bigger harvest next year! Through this sharing, it sparked a spirit of generosity in many of our young men. One in particular, his family owns chickens and he took it upon himself to share eggs with our group. We love seeing our youth begin to “get it” and give back to their community!
Once we have all of our students selected at the Elementary School, our High School students will begin helping us mentor there! It’s the beauty of this program. A step we’ve been eagerly awaiting. Our oldest students volunteer to mentor our youngest. They continue this journey of leadership and give back to the program that gave them so much. They also get hours in their portfolio.
This quarter we were able to have a hiking minicamp up Big Cottonwood Canyon. We had a blast hiking up the mountain. We were able to have great conversations along the way, about how their summers were going and reminisce about summer camp! The boys took turns leading the way up the trail. The boys endured and enjoyed a pretty tough hike and we made sure to have a lot of good laughs along the way.
We want to thank all of our grantors and donors. This third quarter was one of our most successful quarters in raising the funds to continue to bless the boys and their families. Without our donors, we would not be able to run our organization the way we do. We are extremely grateful for you and look forward to many years of partnering with you financially. We are looking forward to a wonderful 4th quarter ahead of us!
Thank you to all of our donors, sponsors, and partners for your support. Stone of Hope Youth has finished another great quarter. As we mentor our youth, we work very hard to build positive relationships and trust on a weekly basis. We have been extremely fortunate to have such a great team of volunteers and directors on the Stone of Hope Youth team. We are always seeking new mentors through different avenues such as the University of Utah Bennion Center, local churches, word of mouth, etc. All of our mentors go through a thorough background check and training before they step foot in the schools to mentor our amazing kids!
During our mentor sessions this quarter, we have begun implementing the 5 C’s Positive Youth Development Framework. This is a strength-based approach that focuses on the positive attributes of a person or a group rather than the negative ones. Ex. leadership, resilience, communication, etc. As we implement the 5 C’s framework, Stone of Hope Youth is creating our own curriculum based on this data driven approach. The 5 C’s are Competence, Connection, Confidence, Character, and Caring. This quarter we have implemented the 1st C which is Competence. Inside of the 1st C we have focused on social and cognitive skills with the boys. Our lessons have been geared towards changing their mindsets about themselves first and foremost. One of our multi-week lessons was Reframing your thoughts and how to talk positively about yourself and others, especially when situations do not happen the way you like. Another lesson we worked on was Locus of Control. This lesson taught the boys that you have 2 control patterns which are Internal and external. Internal locus of control focuses on taking ownership of your own actions whether good or bad. External locus of control is when you blame others for negative outcomes instead of yourself. As we developed activities and games around these topics, the boys began to believe that they DO have control over their own life and behavior. We are excited to refine our curriculum for the boys as we begin the 2021-2022 school year!
Our Financial Peace for middle schoolers classes have been incredible. David, our Director of Mentoring, has been leading the lessons and has our boys excited about building wealth, saving, spending, and giving! We have boys already talking about starting their own businesses. Along with our financial class, we have had really fun games and tournaments this quarter. We had a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, soccer games within the boys groups, and a new game called “Will Ball.” We always implement life skills such as controlling your response when you are losing and how to be a gracious winner. The boys and mentors had so much fun! To add on to the fun, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo with tasty Mexican sweet bread.
This quarter we were able to have our Rock Climbing Mini Camp at Momentum Climbing gym. We chose to do this mini camp different and invite the boys fathers to attend. Those of our boys without fathers had their mothers attend. The parents took the role of holding the rope/ belaying for their child as they climbed up the rock wall. This takes a lot of communication and trust on both ends. A lot of our boys were scared at first but when they trusted that the rope was secure and that their parents would not let them go, they had the time of their lives! The purpose of this mini camp was to teach them trust and that it is possible to do hard things and be successful.
Lastly, with COVID restrictions lifting we were able to run our full Summer Leadership Camp in June! In 2020, we were heartbroken that we had to cancel our leadership camp due to the pandemic. Once we received the news that Utah opened up summer camps we were cautious. We read all CDC guidelines before our board of directors made the decision to move forward. Everyone was excited including the parents. We run our summer camp at Camp UTABA every summer. They have beautiful facilities and an awesome reservoir where the boys can swim and canoe. In previous summer camps, we focus on one SOHY Value per day. This year we added one of the 5 C’s along with our value of the day. Marrying these two together each day helped our boys to positively reframe their thoughts and actions as they accomplished each activity. The boys were divided into 3 tribes this year which were the Wildcats, Cobras, and Jinchūriki.
Day 1 We focused on Confidence and Trust. The boys did a ropes course and later learned how to tie a line of the hook before we spent the rest of the day fishing.
Day 2 We focused on Teamwork and Competence. We did our annual second day Orienteering where the boys learned to navigate a hike up and down the mountain as a team. We then did a scavenger hunt around Weber State University and capped it with Ice Cream at Farr’s Creamery. After dinner the boys trekked the canoes and kayaks up to the reservoir to learn how to canoe correctly and as a team.
Day 3 We focused on No Quitting, Character, and Gratefulness during hard times. Third day is our big obstacle course day. All of the leadership activities the boys did throughout the first 2 days helped to prepare for the obstacle course. The boys and mentors split into their tribes to construct their portions of the obstacle course. Check out our social media and website to see them competing in the obstacle course! We celebrated with our big BBQ cookout hosted by our Board of Directors. Every last night we teach the boys how to properly assemble a tent to sleep in that night. The boys loved it! At the end of the evening we had our award ceremony so that we could highlight the boys who exceeded expectations in leading their tribes. We capped off the night with a “Knighting” ceremony for our 8th graders that are going into high school. This was very powerful as these boys have worked so hard in our organization the past 4 years. We presented them with a custom Stone of Hope Youth scarf that they will wear at every event that we hold.
Day 4 We focused on Good Decisions and Caring on our last day. After having breakfast, breaking down the tents, then cleaning the campgrounds, we left Camp UTABA to celebrate at Lagoon Theme Park. What a great way to end our 2021 Stone of Hope Youth Leadership Camp! We all had fun riding roller coasters and eating lots of pizza. The smile on our boys face was amazing!! At the end of our Lagoon Day we dropped the boys off at the local elementary school where their parents greeted them.
This year we noticed more teamwork and less complaining. More positive talk and less negative talk. More caring for their fellow campers and less bickering. This year's camp was special and we can’t wait for next year!
We want to end this newsletter by letting you know that our SOHY family has suffered an indescribable loss. One of our youth was recently lost in an accidental shooting. It's overwhelmingly tragic, but we want to honor the young man he was. A spirited, loving, and determined youth. He made us laugh often and now we cry for the absence he leaves in our lives. We love you and your family. Rest In Peace.
Due to this dreadful loss, we plan to address and educate our youth in gun safety, connect with local gun safety partners, and work with local law makers to make a difference so that other families will never have to experience a similar loss.
We'll continue to pray for peace for his family.
Thank you again for supporting Stone of Hope Youth. We are looking forward to the 2021-2022 school year! Please continue to pray for us as we continue to grow and mentor more boys. Please consider becoming a monthly donor to help our cause in building great leaders in underserved communities!
The Stone of Hope Youth Team
Thank you to all of our donors, sponsors, and partners for supporting Stone of Hope Youth these past years. The COVID 19 pandemic has changed the way we do life as a society. For many families, the pandemic has been a burden to health, careers, and finances. Many have lost loved ones and friends. We pray for all who have struggled this year. On the other hand, many have flourished during the pandemic finding new opportunities to serve and to make an impact in ways never foreseen. During the pandemic, Stone of Hope Youth has been blessed beyond measure. Our team has brainstormed and implemented new ways of reaching our SOHY boys and their families. Thanks to you we have also surpassed our financial goals for 2020. This has been a big blessing as we were able to experiment with new activities for the boys and ways to serve their families because of your giving. We are very grateful to God for you. In our director and board meetings we like to mention that the economy and pandemic is NOT our source but God is. We feel God has put in your heart to give to this great organization and we thank you!
We have changed our elementary mentor platform for this year from in-person, to online ZOOM meetings. As we moved to online we experimented with different ways to organize our meetings so that the boys never lose focus. We decided to begin every online session with fun starters to break the ice, and every week they get a different starter. Our starters have been activities such as online bingo, Scattegories, 2 truths and a lie, Pictionary, and many more. To make these even more engaging, the boys have opportunities to win prizes such as $5 gift cards, puzzles, and more.
During our second portion of our online mentor sessions we focus on life skill scenarios. We focus on topics such as bullying, acceptance, integrity, etc. Most times we will watch an inspirational video and other times we will have a short devotional. We then give the boys and mentors a list of real world engaging questions that pertain to the topic. Our third and final portion of the online mentor session is the one on one ZOOM break out with a mentor. During this time the mentor asks the mentee about their week and how life is going. This break out has proven to be essential as the boys tend to open up better during one on one sessions. During the one on one, the mentor eventually goes over the topic questions with their mentee. Once one on one time is up, we press the button on ZOOM to bring everyone back to the main hub. We always finish by praising each boy and sharing at least one positive from the one on one session. We make sure that every kid feels affirmed and great about themselves after every session.
For our middle school boys, we have been fortunate to be able to meet in person for a large part of the year. During our in-person mentor sessions, we break up the boys in 3 groups and rotate them to 3 different stations. Each station is comprised of 3 leadership activities that focus on the topic of the day such as integrity, honor, listening, etc. From October to January we took a break from in person as the governor mandated that there be no after school programs. This worked in our favor as we utilized our time for visiting our SOHY families at their homes. In October we received a little over $40,000 from the COVID CARES ACT Grant from the government. We were able to help our SOHY families and other families in the West Valley Community with bills, rent, furnaces, groceries, glasses, and much more. This grant came at a perfect time as some families were on the brink of being evicted from their homes. We are happy to say that from October to December we spent all of the $40,000 on families needing assistance. It was a big undertaking but we were grateful for the governors mandate so that we had time to help these great families. God’s timing was perfect as we went back into mentoring soon after.
During the first quarter of 2021 we have been able to run one mini camp and one service project. In March, we took the boys up the mountains for our first Snowshoeing Mini Camp. Snowshoeing was a first for all the boys and most of the mentors. The weather was perfect as the boys got to snowshoe during a light snow storm. It was work getting up the mountain but the boys loved it. The boys learned that to see beauty in things you have to work at it, whether it is relationships or dreams. The positive work you put into it, the greater reward at the end. Once we finally got down the mountain we pulled out the sleds and sledded down the mountain multiple times as we waited on parents to arrive. It was a great time for all! Second quarter we have an Indoor Rock Climbing mini camp lined up.
In March, Stone of Hope Youth began a new long-term service project. The boys built the first SOHY Community Garden. This has been a vision from David, our Director of Mentoring, for a long time. A large number of our boys came and worked wonders. They built a very large garden box and framed the greenhouse for shelves. They learned to till the ground, measure dimensions, work with the drill, and fill pots with soil. They worked extremely hard and were very excited to see the final results. The boys felt good knowing that the produce grown goes directly to their families and that they have a large part in contributing to their household. They also loved consuming the donuts, juice, Gatorade, and pizza during our work.
We have received great news in the past weeks. We will be able to run our FULL SOHY Leadership Camp in June! This is great news as summer camp is the culmination of all the boys have learned during the year. The first three days are filled with fun leadership activities, fishing, canoeing, hiking/ orienteering, tent camping, and self reflection. We also plan a college tour and scavenger hunt at Weber State University as we want to encourage our boys to envision themselves on a college campus. On our final day of summer camp, we have the boys clean the camp grounds and pack, then we leave for a fun filled day at the Lagoon Theme Park.
Just recently we let the boys know that camp is on for this year and they are incredibly excited! Of course, we will keep adhering to CDC COVID guidelines.
We are very excited for the future of Stone of Hope Youth. We could not serve as we do without your support. Please spread the word about the work we are doing. We are always looking for new monthly donors to keep our ministry going strong. You are making a big difference in these undeserved communities with which we work. On behalf of our Stone of Hope Youth team we thank you for being part of the family.
Founder and Executive Director
Stone of Hope Youth
As of June 19th, 2017, Stone of Hope Youth is now a 501(c)(3) status nonprofit entity!!! This is what we have been waiting for all year! We as a staff have been planning with expectations to start fundraising and seeking sponsors. We are now ready to officially push forward! We are truly grateful to God!
Starting in August, our Mentor Team of Stone of Hope Youth will begin our initiative to find Mentors for the 2017-2018 school year. We are looking for male mentors 21 years old and older with a heart to serve and build into the lives of young men. Once background checks and training are finalized we will match our mentors with their mentees. We believe that consistency and commitment are key to raising children. We require our mentors to commit once a week for a full school year (9 months). We will adhere to and follow the school district calendars and only mentor within the open dates of the School District. There will be no mentoring during school holidays.
Please spread the word to all possible donors. All donations will go directly to purchasing supplies, food, clothes, transportation, curriculum, and tutors for our kids enrolled in Stone of Hope Youth. In addition, donations will go to our 3 week overnight summer camp for our kids and Parent Education Classes for the parents of our Stone of Hope Youth kids.
We have been hard at work planning all year for this to finally come to fruition. We thank all that have believed and continue to believe in the vision to bless and raise up our disadvantaged youth.
Founder & Executive Director
Stone of Hope Youth
Thank you so much for your support of Stone of Hope Youth!
We have been blessed to be able to live in Salt Lake City, Utah and have the opportunity to bless kids who are in need. My wife, Alia, and I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah from Houston, Texas back in June of 2016. We felt God calling us here over a year ago to start a nonprofit for disadvantaged kids. On June 30th, 2016, we closed on our house in Houston the same day we drove out to start our new life here in Salt Lake City.
Fast forward 8 months and now I'm teaching music at a Title 1 school and our nonprofit, Stone of Hope Youth, has been incorporated in the State of Utah as of February 10th, 2017!! We have also received our Federal EIN from the IRS and opened our business bank account!!
We have a great team of dedicated Directors and Board Members that has joined Stone of Hope Youth and has helped make the dream a reality! Below our the names and titles of each.
As we have started, we are praying and believing for many things:
1. For our 501 (c)(3) declaration letter to be accepted and incorporated as a tax exempt nonprofit by March 2017
2. For Stone of Hope Youth to have generous donors and to receive grants to help us in funding our Mentor programs, summer camps, scholarships, and educational events for parents and their kids. Our Goal is $50,000 by July 2017
3. For the kids who will be a part of Stone of Hope Youth that their lives will be changed and that they will become influential leaders in their homes, schools, and communities.
We are working hard and believing for all of these to come to fruition!
Thank you so much for your support and please spread the word about Stone of Hope Youth! We are here to "Speak Life and Change Lives!"
Founder & Executive Director
Stone of Hope Youth
"With this faith, we will hue out of the mountain of despair, a Stone of Hope."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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