One child at a time

Building life-changing relationships one at a time.

For children, elementary years are critical for their development, as they form values, establish self-esteem, and acquire academic skills. Often this includes having support, encouragement, and one-on-one attention.

Through a Kids Hope USA mentoring program, students develop transformative relationships with an additional caring and consistent adult, empowering them to thrive.

We connect Christian churches with the neighborhood elementary and middle schools to operate a proven and established school-based mentoring program. Through intentional training and support, churches mobilize volunteer mentors into schools to meet with students once a week and develop a one-on-one mentoring relationship. And those relationships matter.

“My student has become a thoughtful young man who offers wisdom to those around him. I am grateful for my relationship with him.”

– Kids Hope USA Director


In 1995, serial social entrepreneur and Kids Hope USA founder Dr. Virgil Gulker researched: “How can churches have the greatest impact on America’s children?

He gathered input from sociologists, law enforcement, health professionals, educators, and child development experts. One response to his question appeared at the top of everyone’s lists: Fill the relational voids in kids’ lives. In other words, send people to meet with students who need reliable, caring adult relationships, starting with children in the earliest grades.

With the church’s abundant potential and desire to share love to others, this faith-based mentoring program pairing Christian churches and schools began.


Today, thousands of students are partnered with a caring, consistent adult who shows up each week—just for them, providing another source of encouragement and support for them to thrive.

“I’m already seeing a difference in my son’s interest in going to school, thanks to the time he spends with his Kids Hope USA mentor.”

– Kids Hope USA Parent


Through a Kids Hope USA program, the impact goes beyond success for the student. It also serves mentors, teachers and the community.

of teachers say the program benefited the student.*
of mentors found their mentoring time valuable for their student.**
of mentors say they feel more connected to their church because of their involvement with Kids Hope USA.**

*Greenway, Tyler. 2022. Kids Hope USA Teacher Survey.  

**Greenway, Tyler. 2023. Kids Hope USA Mentor Survey.

Be part of making a transformative impact in the lives of students and the community. Learn more about starting a program at your church or school.


2024 Spring Presidential Update

Check out our Spring 2024 Presidential Update! Included in the Update is a letter from our President, Dr. Karen Pearson, a recap of some of the amazing things that have THRIVED at Kids Hope USA, and a look ahead to what’s coming as we work together to make more one-on-one relationships possible.
beyond puzzles blog feature

Beyond Puzzles: How Jigsaw Puzzles Advance Learning

Have you ever struggled to complete a jigsaw puzzle? Completing a puzzle is a great mentoring activity to engage your student and work through hard things together. Puzzles are meant to be hard, but persevering through this struggle can advance development and help students gain crucial life-long skills.  Puzzles Teach Students How to Overcome Challenges […]
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