KSU Wesley Foundation: Moving with Stride

February 24, 2010

The purpose of the Wesley Foundation at Kentucky State University (KSU) is to share Christ’s love, support United Methodist and other students, faculty and staff at KSU as they grow in their faith, and develop opportunities for spiritual, academic, social and professional growth. Through the years, it hasn’t always been easy to live up to that challenge. Pastor Kenneth Simpson has kept the faith and is leading a new generation of future pastors, doctors, lawyers, teachers, artists, and accountants. A team which consists of Executive Director Rev. Kenneth Simpson, Board Chairman Rev. Jack Brewer, Development Director Bessie Hamilton, and over 15 board members are off to a great start!

The Wesley Foundation Annual Appeal Campaign begins March 1, 2010 and will last through September 1, 2010. Their goal is to raise $25,000 within that time.

The Wesley Foundation on the KSU campus is making a difference in the lives of their students. They are reaching over 50 students a weeks through various programs. Perhaps some of their success can be attributed to their outside work which caused changes to occur inside. About five years ago, the Wesley Foundation began renovations on the outside of their building. David Booth, a member of the board, led this endeavor. They began simply by cutting down trees and taking loads of trash to the dumpster. This caused the foundation to become more visible for students.

A few months ago in which vinyl siding was added to the entire outside of the building, and a new volleyball court was put in place for the students. A considerable amount of volunteer help came from Shelbyville Centenary, coordinated by Dave Pratt. They also received a lot of help from Board member Edgar Adams and Ron Alvis of Frankfort First UMC, and Alton Warford and June Gritton of Claylick UMC. Their contractor, Bill Wise, very generously contributed volunteer work to help them get started properly. A student at the Foundation, Monique Scroggins, says, “The Wesley Foundation has changed over the years. It is more attractive for students (who) are beginning to understand and have knowledge of campus church. It is a great place to be.”

The students here feel a sense of belonging as they engage in the many programs and activities through the week.  They are currently worshipping with the St. Paul UMC in Frankfort on Sundays.  Pastor and board member Elvyn Hamilton and the church feel blessed by the wonderful spirit and energy of the KSU WF students. The campus ministry includes Bible Study on Mondays, Prayer Request Time and The Campus Church Biggest Loser Program on Tuesdays, Wesley Club meeting and the Coffee House on Thursdays, and game night on Fridays. Students are scheduled to go on an Underground Railroad trip on February 20, 2010. They will also go on a spring break trip to Lagrange, GA and Memphis, TN. This trip will engage the students in a historical awakening in which they will begin to process and understand what role the church played in the civil rights movement. 

The students also enjoy fellowship by gathering for cookouts, volleyball games, study nights, and prayer. Landon Miller, a resident at the Wesley Foundation, says, “The Wesley Foundation helps many students with problems by simply praying for them and just being there.”

The students realize how much they have been blessed and are always thinking of ways to bless others. At the end of March, KSU will host over 75 middle school students from the Frankfort area through what is called “Reality Store.” Students will learn how to manage money. The Wesley Foundation Students will provide lunch and interact with those students.

As we look to the future, it is very bright for the Wesley Foundation. At the end of 2009, they held their first end of the year Christmas Campaign. They raised almost $5,000 in six short weeks. They are in the process of building a gazebo and putting concrete down for a picnic area. They are planning to add more programs, more educational trips for their students, and make changes to the inside of the building as well.

Development Director Bessie Hamilton says that she is often asked the question when fundraising: “What makes your organization different from others?”  She says, “Most parents desire their children attend college. Well, they are in college here. We just need you to help us keep them here.”

Bessie Hamilton