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January 31, 2023

C2k Ministries in Mound Bayou

Entity helping students finish the school year.

What started as a passion for one couple over seven years ago has blossomed into something more.

Phil and Kym Schank are the founders of C2k Ministries Inc., based in Mound Bayou with the purpose and mission of developing programs to help children fight intergenerational poverty. RE>DIRECT, a holistic after-school program, is one of their initiatives.

RE>Direct has expanded C2k’s scope from primarily working in the North Bolivar Consolidated School District to now working with students from Bell Academy, Pearman Elementary, and Nailor Elementary.

“Our focus remains on our students from Mound Bayou and our direct surrounding areas,” said Phil Schank, President of C2k Ministries. “During the COVID-19 outbreak, we had to make several changes, and they are working. We could no longer meet at the building, so we had to get creative.”

The RE>DIRECT team consists of five current Mentor Specialists: Joyce Pitts, Edna Bland, LaTonya Fields, Sandra Kemp, and Linda Dorsey.

Schank and the team had a video conference with Principal Miller of I.T. Montgomery Elementary School in Mound Bayou to discuss ways to keep children engaged in their school work. After that meeting, the team decided to go to work, and the results have been incredible.

“Our Mentor Specialists went to the schools, picked up the study materials, and hand-delivered them to each student,” said Schank. “Our team let both parents and students know we would be checking in to see how their homework was coming and to help them answer any questions. Guess what? It worked!”

The RE>DIRECT team has met daily with students each day in person, over computers, or phones helping them with homework and anything else. And, the parents have responded in a significant way.

“My son Christian Norris attended C2k Ministries after school program, and I would first like to thank everyone who is involved with the program,” said Genevlyn Norris, one of the parents. “I would like to send a special thank you to my son’s ‘teacher’ Mrs. Pitts. She is such a nice and caring person. She constantly checks on Christian and continues to help with his school work, in person and over the phone. She takes her time with him and makes sure that he has an understanding of his work. Since she’s been working with Christian, he has more confidence and is completing his school work. Christian and I are both very grateful for her.”

“Our program is in high demand because we get results,” said Schank. “We are not a baby-sitting service. We are a program designed to help develop successful future leaders that change communities, organizations, systems, and the world.” 

Since the beginning of the program there has been a waiting list of 15-20 students.

“We have strong incentive programs for students to do well,” said Schank. “We expect our students to perform at high-levels, and most kids rise to the occasion. It is amazing what can happen when you look a student in the eyes and tell them that you believe in them and they can do this. We encourage them to rise to the individual that God created them to be. When we believe in them, they start to believe in themselves, and that changes everything.”

“Mr. Phil, I want to express to you and Mrs. Kym, my appreciation for your GREAT leadership,” said Joyce Pitts, one of C2k’s Mentor Specialists. “Look at all the positive heartwarming rewards we would have missed if you all hadn’t suggested that we keep in contact with our students during this pandemic. Great vision!”

“I went to Kingston’s house on Thursday and saw Kingston and his cousins outside playing,” said Edna Bland, Mentor Specialist for Kingston Tucker. “This brought back for me kids just outside playing and not worrying about a virus we’re facing. They were playing with the dog and Kingston introduced his cousins. Even though, the question will always be asked about homework; these children just enjoy someone coming to their house to visit. Kingston’s adult cousin asked, ‘You are here to see Kingston? That’s great.’”

The impact RE>DIRECT and C2k Ministries are making in their communities is showing results.

As with a growing program, there are growing pains, one of which is expansion.

“God didn’t call us to do small things with our time,” said Schank. “He called us to do something big. We have several other programs and ideas that require a building of our own. Currently, we have the land, but we need the funding for the Youth Center. With it, we can expand our programming to include more students, start our Leadership Development.” 

One program Schank is referring to is their Delta Music Academy, among others. 

“We have big plans, and we have a big God,” said Schank.

To learn more about C2k Ministries, volunteer or contribute to the program or ministry, visit www.c2kministries.org.

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