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"Thank you very much for this great support in these very hard times that we are going through. Blessings to all the people who did this to help us." -BCM Parent


With everything going on surrounding the pandemic and shelter in place order, our programs have had to adapt to ensure our students are supported, but oftentimes adversity creates new growth and beautiful examples of God at work.  We have seen this repeatedly in LiT (Leaders in Training), our high school mentorship program.  

Our LiT students have shown tremendous resilience, creativity and leadership during this time.  The foundation that has been built through the investment of the students, staff and volunteers over the years is bearing fruit as they make positive choices in their own lives and lead through example among their families and peers.  Students are stepping up and sharing their talents, including make-up tutorials and painting techniques, during the Friday hang out hour they initiated.  Others are finding opportunities to support friends and neighbors who are struggling, choosing to be generous with their own time, money or other resources.  As part of our self-care challenge, students are exercising, eating healthy and getting outside; it’s exciting to see them finding creative ways to take care of their bodies, minds and spirits.  


Each week our students, volunteers and staff continue to gather on Zoom (thanks to a generous gift from a church partner) and both attendance and engagement has been high.  The weekly meeting is an essential time for check-in, group learning as well as some fun and games.  The students have been able to decompress and laugh during competitive group games like Pictionary and Catch Phrase.  The current series on relationships has proved to be even more relevant than planned, as students are spending exponentially more time with family members due to sheltering in place, in addition to navigating other relationships in new ways.  

Academically, this season has been most challenging for our juniors and seniors.  We have been in awe of our seniors, who have managed to have an incredibly positive attitude about missing graduation, especially as students for whom high school graduation is not a given.  Thankfully, college acceptance letters have arrived and we have been able to celebrate with our seniors as they get into their top choice colleges and universities!  Our juniors’ perseverance in college preparations is humbling, given the many unknowns regarding the future.  They have been attending online workshops, searching for colleges and learning about career values and opportunities.  The determination they are developing now is growing them into strong students and leaders.  


While our students are exemplifying creativity, leadership and resilience during this time, the weight of the challenges they are facing is great.  Economic pressure is substantial as most households have lost one or more incomes and families are struggling to pay for basics like food and rent.  Many of our families live in small residences along with extended family members or other housemates, making it difficult to find quality study space.  With family pressures and mental health concerns, depression and anxiety are common.  We also have several students and families with pre-existing medical conditions, and getting treatment during this time is difficult.  


Due to the generous gifts of friends like you, BCM has been able to provide direct support through our Family Assistance Fund. We have provided money towards rent and utilities payments, grocery cards, love kits and Chromebooks to students and families. Please continue to pray for families being affected financially, physically and mentally, that they would know God’s peace and presence during difficult times.  

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

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He changes times and seasons;he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. Daniel 2:21

Dear BCM Friends and Family,


Given the current coronavirus threat, it is challenging to find a good time to communicate this personal news, but I need to prepare our ministry for the change that lies ahead. After fourteen years on staff, I have decided to transition from my role as Bayshore Christian Ministries’ Executive Director, effective mid-June 2020.


This decision has not come easily given my love for and commitment to the work God is doing through BCM amongst the youth and families of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven. I began this discernment process many months ago and informed our Board early in the year. After decades in the nonprofit world, I am looking forward to pursuing other professional interests.


I thank God for his faithfulness as He continues to uphold BCM’s ministry through this challenging season. As an organization, BCM is in a strong position. I am encouraged by our devoted board which provides spiritual covering as they are guided by our Christian faith in combination with BCM’s strategic vision; by the seasoned executive team in Andrew Hartwell and Amy Joh, who bring decades of experience in BCM leadership roles; and, by the dedicated staff and volunteers, who bring our mission to life as they love and serve the youth of our community. God’s provision has afforded us a strong balance sheet and I trust He will continue to provide for our ministry during this turbulent time caused by this pandemic.


The Board has already created an Executive Director Search Committee that has outlined the search timeline and hiring process. Unfortunately, the current Covid-19 containment strategies have forced us to modify these plans. As a result of the uncertainty we are all experiencing, we will delay the posting of the position until we can safely and reliably move forward with the hiring process. Once we post the position, we welcome your assistance in sharing this job opportunity with your networks. Upon my early summer departure, if a new Executive Director is not yet hired, an interim executive leadership plan will be put in place.


I am grateful for the privilege God has given me to serve at BCM. It has been a gift to work alongside so many dedicated, committed and hard-working colleagues over the years and to receive the support of so many of you. I will treasure the many moments of "spark" that God has allowed me to experience personally, in the youth we serve and in BCM as an organization. I thank you for your prayers and ask that you please continue to lift up our youth, their families, the BCM team and our organization as we tackle this leadership transition and this viral pandemic. I may not have been able to reach you personally with this news, but I do hope we can connect soon. Please feel free to reach me at rolando@bayshore.org. I would love to set up a time to chat over the phone and provide you with a more personal update.

Blessings,

Rolando Zeledon

Executive Director

Bayshore Christian Ministries

www.bayshore.org

(650) 327-9942

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Bayshore Christian Ministries Response to Coronavirus

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2


Alongside many of you, we are living in a reality where schools are closed and we are sheltering in place inside our homes. By order of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, schools in our area will remain closed and we will continue to shelter in place through May 1. We hope to resume normal program activity on May 4. In the meantime, we have been finding new ways to reach out and serve our youth and families. 


As we continue to minister in our community, we have defined some goals for this time of upheaval. First, we want to provide as much of our regular programming as we can through online means. In addition, we want to increase the frequency of contact with students, and especially parents. We hope to keep our volunteers engaged as fully as possible. Everyone has been impacted heavily by the shutdowns and we want to do our best to help the families we work with, who have been hit particularly hard. Finally, we are asking families for their input – about their needs, how we can best serve, and how we can pray for them.


We are grateful for the opportunity to be a light to our students and families during this difficult time. We are very thankful for the many partners in the work of BCM and would love your help during this challenging season.

  • Our prayer team is expanding, and we are providing more frequent requests to the members. If you would like to pray for the needs of the ministry, please email prayer@bayshore.org.

  • We have need of strong financial support for our ongoing operations and for the creative ways we seek to meet needs arising from the current crisis. 

  • Even though the timing is odd, we’d love to talk to anyone interested in volunteering with programs this summer or beyond. For more information, contact volunteer@bayshore.org.


COVID-19 Family Assistance Fund for BCM Students and Families



PROGRAM UPDATES




Bible Clubs

Elementary Spiritual

  • Putting together kits of materials for Bible Club activities

  • Staff and volunteers hosting weekly Bible Club meetings online



KidSmart

Elementary Academic

  • Checking with all parents about student progress, adapting to new online formats

  • Providing books and fun items to help students through quarantine time



CREATE Studios

STEAM + Workshops

  • Two workshops on temporary hold. High school robotics team continues meetings on schedule through Zoom.

  • Eleven students and ten coaches remain active

  • Teams working on programming, robot design, and business development



StreetWorkz

Middle School Spiritual

  • Conducting weekly meetings by Zoom plus contact from two adult leaders and one peer

  • Providing relational and spiritual grounding amidst upheaval

  • Students are participating in weekly quarantine activities to help them stay healthy, creative, active and connected



Leaders in Training

High School Spiritual and Leadership

  • Frequent check-ins from staff and volunteer adult leaders

  • Holding regular weekly meetings, tutoring sessions and academic direction workshops

  • Students are participating in a weekly self care challenge including taking walks, creating art and cooking healthy meals


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19- 20

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