Sozo Children Run for a Reason 5K


Proceeds raised will be used to support Sozo’s mission of empowering vulnerable children to become thriving leaders for Jesus Christ. The virtual 5K will be held the week of May 9-15–celebrating Sozo’s 11th anniversary on May 13, 2010.

Whether you plan on running the entire 5K (3.1miles), jogging, walking, skipping, or maybe even practicing your dance walk–we hope you will join in and get moving for Sozo Children! Create your own route in your neighborhood, at a nearby trail, or knock it out on your treadmill. Use your favorite fitness tracker or app to track your distance. Help us share the word by nominating 5 of your friends on social media to join in on the fun! Make sure to tag @sozochildren.

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Indian Springs First Baptist Church(ISFBC) invites children ages K – 5th grade to our 2021 Sticky Camp. This year’s exciting VBS message is Anchored – Deepening Faith in God. The 3-day adventure will be held at ISFBC on July 23 and 24 from 10am – 3pm and on July 25 from 9:30am – 11am. Email Micah Cunningham at for more information or contact the church office at or (205) 988-3662.

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Do you know a boy who is interested in music and singing? The Birmingham Boys Choir is currently holding open auditions for its 2021-22 season. To schedule an audition, visit our website:

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Mission Makers

When a young person is mentored, the positive impact is substantial, and Vineyard Family Services(VFS) ministry is doing all it can to make sure our area youth have this life changing advantage. Thanks to a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice for Detention Prevention, VFS is implementing Wise Advisors, a mentor/mentee program. “The program is driven by one thing, to help and improve our at-risk youth in Shelby County and surrounding counties,” explains Derick Williams, Family Services Director at VFS. Designed for mentees 12- to 17-year-olds, VFS is searching for caring adults ages 21 and older to be mentors.

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Besides the mentoring program, Vineyard Family Services also offers other programs designed to help families build a greater future including F.I.T. DAD (promoting responsible fatherhood) and BackPack Buddies which serves more than 1000 children a week who are at risk for food insecurity.

Williams, who is overseeing Wise Advisors, has personally seen where the lack of a mentor can lead. “I worked for the Alabama Department of Corrections for many years. One thing I continually saw in the prison system were a lot of our inmates who were either from a home with no father or didn’t have a  mentor in general. You could clearly see how it affected them as a teen and followed them into adulthood.”

Williams also has the facts when it comes to the impact of mentors. For instance, 55 percent of mentored youth are less likely to skip school, 55 percent are more likely to be enrolled in college, 46 percent are less likely to start using drugs, and 81 percent are more likely to report participating regularly in extracurricular activities. Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes them feel like they matter. Mentoring also reduces “depression symptoms” and increases “social acceptance, academic attitudes and grades. (

vineyard family services woman with teen girl mentor
Vineyard Family Services is looking for mentors who lead by example as a Christian mentor. “How else will we be able to get a mentee to see a need to make changes?” Learn more at

June 5, 2021 VFS will host a one-day training for Wise Advisor mentors 9 a.m.– 4p.m. at their Pelham office. Training gives mentors the knowledge they need to engage with mentees. “In training we cover a plethora of situations that a mentor may be faced with,” says Williams adding that all mentors must be willing to have one home visit with VFS leader, mentee and parent and pass a background check. Mentors are also asked to commit to mentoring for at least nine months and invest at least four hours a month with mentees. “Through that time investment, they build a healthy relationship, help strengthen and guide the talents of these mentees, they encourage them to come up with their own coping strategies and empower them to work through their own issues. They lead by example,” says Williams.

Mentees also commit in writing to participate in the program and mentees and mentors are carefully matched. “We want to make sure we get a good fit,” says Williams. ”Race, religion do not play a role in it. Our motto is to match mentee with mentor with common interests. This allows for the opportunity to build a great relationship.” Williams emphasizes that mentors are not tasked with being a counselor to the mentee, however, VFS does offer this service free of charge to any teen in the mentor program.

At the end of nine months, VFS holds a mentee graduation celebration. Post-graduation mentor/mentee relationships may continue, but VFS believes it is critical to celebrate the nine month investment and accomplishment achieved by mentor and mentee . “Some of these kids have not received credit for anything. This is a milestone we don’t want them to ever forget.” To learn more about mentoring visit To sign up for the June 5 training contact Derick Williams, 205-704-0594.  If you know a child in that can benefit from this free mentoring program, contact Charity Havercroft at VFS,, 205-837-0265. †


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Special Feature

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham(BBBS) is now offering virtual mentoring through its new e-mentoring program. The program launched last March during the pandemic and gave BBBS a way to continue its mission of creating and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. The initiatives of BBBS bolster self-esteem and work to improve the chances that the youth served will achieve success in their academic, social, and family lives. BBBS of Greater Birmingham operates under the vision that all youth achieve their full potential.

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Consider being a virtual mentor to a child in our community. Learn more at

Given recent calls for social distancing, many Littles experience an exacerbation of the issues they regularly face, from societal barriers and opportunity gaps to poverty and identity-based discrimination. Consequently, it is incumbent upon Big Brothers Big Sisters to continue fulfilling their mission by being there for the youth they serve. This new virtual mentoring program ensures BBBS remains a visible ally, for mentoring means that they will not have to face life’s challenges alone.

E-mentoring involves creating one-to-one relationships virtually through phone calls, video chat, and more. Youth in our communities are paired with volunteers seeking to mentor within a more modern, current platform. Volunteers serve as mentors from their phones and computers at a minimum of 30 minutes each week. This partnership allows volunteers with limited schedules the ability to give back while working with a busy schedule. Additionally, although it takes place virtually, the E-mentoring program is not limited to just chats on the phone. Match Support Specialist will help provide virtual activities for each match. Such as online cooking classes, dance lessons, homework help, virtual story times, and more.

As CEO Sue Johnson states, “Our priority and what distinguishes Big Brothers Big Sisters is our commitment to providing long-term mentoring, resulting in proven positive educational and social outcomes, improving kids’ chances to succeed”. Currently, BBBS has over 150 Littles in need of a mentor. With mentoring now more accessible and easier than ever, you can become a mentor today. To learn more about volunteering or to donate visit: †




Enjoy 18 holes of golf benefitting the ministry of Sozo Children—a Birmingham-based Christian ministry serving vulnerable children in Uganda, Africa. Registration is now open for teams and corporate sponsorships. Visit for more information. Check-in begins at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. Awards, raffle and hors d’oeuvres to follow.

SafeShelby Wellness Trail

Visit a variety of health and wellness booths to learn new approaches to conquer your health concerns and find new ways to enhance your physical fitness, financial wellness, safety, and nutrition. Event takes place on May 1 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Veteran’s Park Alabaster, 7305 Hwy 119, 35007. Learn more here.

  • Free Admission
  • Food Trucks
  • Free Health Screenings
  • Physical & Behavioral Health
  • LifeSouth Blood Drive
  • Exercise Demonstrations

The 7th annual Glow on the Green will be held on Friday, April 30th at Highland Park Golf Course. This one-of-a-kind event features 18 holes of golf. 9 holes are played during the afternoon, with a break for dinner and fun, and 9 holes are played as the sun sets over Birmingham.

For 47 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham has seen first-hand the impact that a positive role model can have on Birmingham youth. Research has shown that youth who have a caring mentor are less likely to use drugs, less likely to skip school, and more likely to attend college.  This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ goal is to serve 1,300 children in our community. You can be a part of helping BBBS reach this goal by attending or becoming a sponsor of Glow on the Green.

You have the opportunity to support this exciting event in Birmingham while helping change a life for the better, forever.

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