About the Program
We began working specifically with construction teams in 2003, but we have tried to keep our minds open to God over the years. New ways to develop and empower local communities continue to come to light. Our ministry currently includes feeding and arts/sports programs and construction projects to provide needed community infrastructure. We have been blessed to see local communities embrace and utilize our Empowered Communities programs, most times collaborating with us in our efforts. Many children and families have enjoyed the benefits of our construction efforts and our feeding programs, and we have witnessed dramatic improvements in attention span, discipline, leadership skills, and self-esteem among young people involved in our arts/sports programs. Many who entered our programs with low grades have since completed their studies and are young professionals. It's a true blessing to see them succeed.
ARTS AND SPORTS PROGRAMS
Short school schedules at times and a high drop-out rate leave many young people unsupervised during much of the day. This can lead to delinquent behavior, as there is a tremendous amount of peer pressure from negative influences. Extracurricular activities such as fine arts, sports, and martial arts give these children a positive alternative to hanging out in the streets, where they are exposed to gangs, drugs, sex (underage and unwed pregnancy are widespread), and violence. Involvement in such programs helps protect their future as well as the future of Costa Rica. All underage students must be enrolled in school to receive classes.
FOOD FOR FAMILIES
Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, but a child does not study well if his or her stomach is rumbling. Healthy diets help create healthy minds and bodies. Strong Missions is assisting local families with grocery staples and fresh vegetables from community gardens. This program replaced the hot meal feeding programs and partners with Laney´s Food for Families, in North Carolina, which has raised and donated over 15K in its first 4 years. Over 400.000 meals have been served or supplied to children and families since 2005.
All projects are agreed upon by local church and/or community leaders, and evaluated by Strong Missions' board of directors, to ensure that the project fits with the overall goals and missions of both the community and Strong Missions. Projects include churches, public and special needs schools, homes, children's and older adult homes and shelters, as well as the Strong Missions complex to better provide for teams and local youth programs.