KIDS FIRST Initiative

On June 26, 2022 FirstMC announced the birth of an initiative we named KIDS FIRST. Over several weeks, we have uncovered more and more about this initiative. First, we shared how it fits our church’s vision and mission. Second, we shared why we believe God is directing us toward this initiative as we looked at the needs in the community around us. Now we can finally share what KIDS FIRST will ultimately look like.

What is KIDS FIRST??

You probably could have guessed that at the heart of this KIDS FIRST Initiative is kids. But on a deeper level, we are seeking to create safe, fun places that are not just us and our kids, but for our entire 46807 community and beyond through renovating our Playground, creating “BrickHouse: A Center for Youth”, and remodeling our Lower Auditorium into “The Underground” for our Youth Ministry.

On September 11, 2022 our KIDS FIRST Initiative officially launched with a Capital Campaign! This will be happening in three phases as we work on raising funds towards our ultimate goal of $200,000. We have already witnessed God working in amazing ways in not just giving us this vision for KIDS FIRST, but in already starting to provide for it. We hope you join us these next couple weeks as we pray for God to intercede in miraculous ways to reach this huge goal. We ask that you continue to cover this entire initiative in prayer.

On October 2, 2022 we began collecting our pledges and gifts for the KIDS FIRST Initiative. Including monies donated from the Ft. Wayne Optimists club, donated on Sunday, pledged on Sunday via pledge cards, and allotted by FirstMC, a total of $204,155 has been committed to the KIDS FIRST Initiative. Praise the Lord!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

We have been eyewitnesses to this very activity of God in our midst. Praise His Holy Name for providing abundantly for our KIDS FIRST initiative through His people! When God provides vision – He provides PROvision! Thank you, His people, for praying and opening the doors to the storehouse He has given each of you and returning to Him above and beyond your regular giving. Lives are changed with God’s people say “yes, Lord yes” to His call to greater faith for His glory. LET’S GET TO WORK!

You can see the breakdown of each step below. As we begin to collect funds towards our KIDS FIRST Capital Campaign, we will post updates and progress pictures here!

How will the funds be used for the KIDS FIRST Capital Campaign?

Phase 1 – The Playground and BrickHouse Reclamation (Total: $130,000)

At $25,000 raised, we will be able to begin the installation of the Playground and will need to dispatch a work team to remove the Playground sidewalk and old equipment and expand the Playground. We hope we can start on this first step this fall. We completed our part of this step by removing the old!

Before new equipment could be installed, drainage issues had to be addressed. As you can see, we had that work done as well!

At $50,000 raised, we will be able to complete the Playground. Praise the Lord that the equipment was put in and the mulch added at the end of February! There is still more work to be done, but the Playground is currently open!

At $97,000 raised, we will have the roofing completed for the BrickHouse and hallway. This work is now done!

Demolition has started inside the BrickHouse! All the trim has been removed, all suspended ceilings, tiles, and metal frames have been scrapped, and plaster and lath has been removed. A dumpster has been brought in to help with the mess. The demolition is finished now!

First floor (Jan 23)
First floor (Jan 30)
Second floor (Jan 23)
Second floor (Jan 23)
Second floor (Jan 30)
Second floor (Jan 30)
Second floor (Feb 1)
Second floor (Feb 1) – no chimney!
Stair case (Jan 23)
Stair case (Feb 6)

Rebuilding and renovating has begun!

First floor (Feb 6) – patio door!
First floor (Feb 6)

The patio door was a custom door that likely would have cost about $4,000, but it had been returned to the store. Following the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Michael Lough and Lee Klaus stopped by the store where they saw this door. It was the exact color and size they wanted and due to it being a returned item, it was available for just $500. Praise the Lord!

Second floor (Feb 6)
Second floor (Feb 6)
Second floor (Feb 6)

First floor (Feb 13)
First Floor (Feb13)

Second floor (Feb 13)
Second floor (Feb 13)

First floor (Feb 20)
Second floor (Feb 20)

The differences from week to week are less obvious now. We did get the new windows put in! The electrical is done and has passed inspection. The rest of the insulation will be added soon. After that, the drywall goes up!

First floor (April 23)
Second floor (April 23)

Drywall is now done! The final inspection will be happening soon. Next up will be painting.

First floor (May 1)
First floor (May 1)

Second floor (May 1)
Second floor (May 1)

At $110,000 raised, we will be able to remediate the mold in the BrickHouse. We are also having the basement waterproofed both inside and out. Waterproofing is now done!

Basement wall by Playground (May 8)
Basement wall by Playground (May 8)

First floor (May 8)
Second floor (May 8)

At $130,000 raised, we will have the HVAC in the BrickHouse completed.

Phase 2 – BrickHouse and Lower Auditorium Furnishing and Renovation (Total: $32,000, making the overall total to be $162,000)

At $152,000 raised, we will be able to remediate the Lower Auditorium to begin turning it into The Underground.

At $162,000 raised, we will be able to add furnishing, paint, and other visual updates to both the Lower Auditorium and BrickHouse. We hope we have these funds raised so that we can dispatch work teams for various projects in both locations this winter. Below are ideas of what we’d like BrickHouse to look like when finished!

Phase 3 – Playground additions and Deck and Ramp on BrickHouse (Total: $38,000, making the overall total to be $200,000)

At $175,000 raised, we will be able to install a ramp to the BrickHouse.

At $185,000 raised, we will be able to install a deck to the BrickHouse.

At $200,000 raised, we will be able to install turf in the seated area of the Playground, and complete each project with excellence (composite decking, nice furnishing, etc.)

If you would like to donate towards KIDS FIRST, please go to our Give page and be sure to select “Give to KIDS FIRST” from the dropdown menu. You can also add “For KIDS FIRST” in the comments.

We appreciate your generosity!