Matt Johns has great sympathy for people who are experiencing challenges. He comes by that honestly since he spent 14 years as a teenager and young adult in a personal struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. During that time he knew that there had to be something more and better to life, which he ultimately found through his faith in God.
Johns early life experiences have given him a great desire to serve others and help them learn that there is hope to live a full and productive life. He’s making his desire to serve a reality with after school programs in some of the apartment complexes in Peachtree Corners.
The goal of his organization, Re-Christ Ministry, which currently brings after school programs to two apartment complexes, is to be in all 10 of the complexes on Peachtree Corners Circle within the next decade.
The objective of Johns after-school programs, according to the organization's brochure, is to “bridge the gap between working parents and an over-worked school system to ensure that all students receive the vital care they need for their development.”
Each week the program provides homework assistance, a Bible lesson and a snack. The kids can earn rewards during the programs for trips to events like bowling or a movie. The programs run Monday and Wednesday 3:15 - 5 p.m. for grades K-2, Tuesday and Thursday 3:15 - 5 p.m. for grades 3-5 and Tuesdays and Thursdays 5 - 6:30 p.m. for grades 6-8.
The after-school program began six years ago with only elementary school students. Within a couple of years they added a badly needed middle school program, which started with two boys and now has grown to 12 students. This year they are serving a total of 70 kids.
These programs, which are totally funded by donations, are so popular that some families choose to remain in the apartment complexes in order for their children to attend the programs. Not only do they offer after-school programs for the kids, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and evenings they offer ESL classes for adults.
When an elementary school students named Jackeyln came into the program five years ago she could speak no English and her math skills were low. She was shy and withdrawn. Working in concert with her local school, the volunteers at Re-Christ began working with her after school and over the course of time her skills improved dramatically and her confidence soared.
During the spring of her 5th grade year, with CRCT tests coming up, while other children enjoyed a movie, Jackelyn choose to spend her time studying. She soon passed the tests in the 95th percentile. Instead of the young shy child she used to be, Jackelyn is now confident and takes pride in this ministry that has given so much to her. Now when she comes in after school she asks, “What can I do to help?”
The logo of the organization is a shield which Johns says communicates one of their goals. He said, “We want to be a buffer/shield. We want to let the children see that someone cares and someone will meet them where they are.”
Thanks to Johns for all that he is doing for the families of our Peachtree Corners apartment complexes. Additional information, including contact names, address and phone numbers are listed on the Re-Christ Ministry website.