Wired Ministries is on its way to meeting its ambitious $250,000 Game Changer Initiative goal.
To date, WIRED 2019 has raised over $115,000, $40,000 of which was raised by WIRED participants last week and $75,000 from local Christian business leaders.
Mark Anderson, executive director for the nonprofit, said this year was one of the most successful WIRED weeks yet.
“We started slow but we really built toward the end,” Anderson said. “I think that our student s and the adults that came really bought into what we were doing… There were a lot of personal connections made last week.”
From June 23 to June 28, 49 churches and 1,425 participants worked to complete projects big and small throughout the community, although no project seemed small to those they helped.
Its biggest project, WIRED’s personal initiative, was the so-called “DCS: Extreme Makeover.” Over 375 people moved furniture and equipment from four closing Dothan City schools and delivered them to their new homes. They also painted, cleaned, and pressure-washed school buildings.
Anderson said the chance to help the school system in a once-in-a-generation restructuring effort was one they didn’t wish to pass up.
“We had the opportunity to help Dothan City Schools in a way that we haven’t been able to before,” he said. “You can really tell for the children and adults that got put on those particular teams, it meant a lot for them. There was a lot to be done every day. It generated a lot of excitement within the teams.”
Other teams served on over a hundred different sites throughout the Dothan area.
Social ministry teams served at nursing homes, worked at Dothan Rescue Mission, and many nonprofit agencies. “Engaging other culture” teams served in Hispanic communities.
Evangelism teams headed by members of The Harbor and Love in Action ministered to people in the downtown area: homeless persons and pedestrians.
“They were able to see some things last week that a lot of people didn’t know about before last week,” Anderson said about volunteers. “Those were very impactful for our students, to realize that there are significant needs with homelessness, and just generally people in need, right here in Dothan – not off in another city, but right here in their hometown.”
WIRED volunteers partnered with Wiregrass FCA to host its annual FCA Sports camp for area fifth through ninth graders. This year, sports taught included football, baseball, basketball, and soccer for boys and basketball, soccer, volleyball, and cheerleading for girls. They had a turnout averaging about 200 students a day.
Additionally, PCY (painting, construction, and yard work) teams completed projects like wheelchair ramps for a variety of different people that sent requests through churches or independently. Teams also partnered with SARCOA, Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging, an area agency on aging serving the seniors of Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties in the Wiregrass.
Teams also held kids clubs in Dothan apartment complexes.
The hundreds of service projects caught the attention of community members, who chose to donate to WIRED ministries Game Changer Initiative. This is the first year in which WIRED leaders have taken on such a mission.
The nonprofit partnered with 10 other gospel-centered nonprofits comprising Living Hope, The Dothan Rescue Mission, Love in Action, The Southeast Alabama Baptist Association, Hope Rising, Alabama Baptist Children’s Home, The Ark, The Harbor, Living Waters and Wiregrass Hope Group.
Each organization chose an initiative they’d like to accomplish with grant money collected by WIRED.
>> Living Hope, a community outreach center, would like to make structural improvements to North Lena Street property including expanding its clothing closet.
>> Love in Action wants to build a warehouse for food storage that will benefit multiple ministries.
>> Hope Rising would like build a safe house for female victims of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
>> The Ark would use the grant money to renovate its third floor for transitional apartments for 23 more men.
>> Living Water, a Christian fellowship, would like to expand its current art studio to serve more clients.
>> Dothan Rescue Mission would like to renovate its dining facility
>> Southeast Alabama Baptist Association wants to create a mobile ministry center in order to meet the needs of residents in rural Houston County.
>> Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes would like to build a visitation center to foster connection between parents and children.
>> The Harbor would double its existing budget for helping people transitioning out of addiction, homelessness and prison.
>> Wiregrass Hope Group would use the money to renovate the Schad Florist building to expand a baby boutique to help mothers in need.
Anderson said the ministry will continue to raise the remaining $135,000 through local Christian businesses through the end of July and already has many interested parties that want to donate.
“We’re still trying to get as close as we can,” Anderson said. “We’re working with other agencies to accomplish that goal.”
WIRED takes on different opportunities and missions every year, Anderson said, but its primary purpose is always to “Unite. Serve. Disciple.”
“We want to unite the community – churches, government agencies, schools,” Anderson said. “We do that by serving the community. Every year, we look for the biggest need in the community and how, we as a ministry can help that need.”
The Game Changer Initiative, particularly, is a new way WIRED has sought to serve – by helping others seeking to share the gospel through service.
Anderson says he does not, however, foresee taking on the project every year.
WIRED is still taking donations at wiredministries.com/gamechanger.