ROCK ISLAND — A group of notable local athletes and educators are coming off the bench to help raise funds and bring “hope” to two area outreach ministries.
The “Hoops for Hope” exhibition basketball game at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Davenport Central High School, 1120 Main St., Davenport, will feature the comedy basketball team “Flight Squad’ versus a team made up of local players from both sides of the Mississippi River.
Tickets are $10 per person or $25 per family with all proceeds to benefit Hope at the BRICK House, in Davenport; and Heart of Hope Outreach, in Rock Island. Tickets are available at www.heartofhopeqc.org or www.hopeatthebrickhouse.org.
Both nonprofit organizations are seeking community sponsors to purchase tickets for area children/families who may not be able to afford them. Interested sponsors may contact either organization or John Kessler, Davenport Optimist Club, who spearheaded efforts in scheduling the upcoming event.
The local players include:
- Jayme Olsen, former basketball player and currently the associate principal at Bettendorf Middle School.
- Julian Vandervelde, a standout offensive lineman at Central High School and the University of Iowa; 2011 fifth-round draft pick of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles; currently involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters and the HavLife Foundation.
- Marc Polite, a standout basketball player at United Township High School in East Moline, where he also coached basketball before becoming the Quad-City area representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is currently teaching and coaching basketball at Davenport North High School.
- Dan Logan, assistant principal at Rock Island High School.
- James Porter, a teacher at Davenport Central High School.
- Jordan Harris and Nickolas McFarlin, both representing Beyond the Baseline in the Quad Cities.
“The ‘Flight Squad Basketball Team is a comedy basketball team made up of players from different parts of the United States,” said Lynda Sargent, founder and president of Heart of Hope Ministries in Rock Island.
In addition to the comedy basketball games, the team also performs at school assemblies and talks to kids about staying in school, staying off drugs, anti-bullying and other relevant topics as well as showing some basketball tricks.
Heart of Hope Ministries
The mission statement of Heart of Hope Outreach Center, 1740 9th Ave., Rock Island, is stated as “a ministry of hope and healing to the hurting dedicated to serving the community at Rock Island and the greater Quad City area.”
Sargent’s vision is to “revitalize Rock Island neighborhoods, provide opportunities that empower individuals to become self-sufficient and equip future generations for success.”
She founded Heart of Hope Ministries in 2009 and after working from her home for four years; in August of 2013, a brick office building was donated to Heart of Hope by retired physician Dr. Myron Fields.
“At our Outreach Center, we offer a Food Pantry, which now includes personal hygiene items, and Clothing Ministry to serve the community during evening hours, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays,” Sargent said. “Since opening the Food Pantry on May 1, 2014, we have experienced a steady increase of residents using this service — 7,799 visitors have been recorded through July 31, 2019, representing over 33,000 family members of whom records indicate 50 percent are children under age 18.”
In addition, numerous clothing and household items have been distributed, including warm winter coats, gloves, blankets, clothing items and new socks and underwear.
Neighborhood youth frequent the Outreach Center, and Sargent said most of the youth are from African and Asian refugee families with very limited financial resources.
“Heart of Hope Ministries has been able to take these youth on outings to educational and amusement sites due to grant funding,” Sargent said. “Laptop computers, bikes, school supplies and clothing needs have been donated to us for ‘our kids’.”
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A small computer lab and resource library are available to residents in need of computer services, or to those who would like to borrow Christian books, CDs, tapes and training materials.
Contributions to Heart of Hope Ministries can be mailed to the center or made online at www.heartofhopeqc.org. Checks should be made payable to Heart of Hope Ministries.
The Brick House
Cal and Joyce Klopp are directors of the neighborhood outreach program, Hope at the BRICK House (HBH) at 1431 Ripley St., Davenport. BRICK is an acronym for “Building relationships in Christ’s Kingdom.”
The after-school and summer program ministry began 25 years ago at its current location. The Klopp couple began the neighborhood meal and ministry program 10 years ago when they moved into the brick house, with the goal of having families come and connect in the neighborhood.
Klopp said, “We moved into the building to be part of our neighborhood and serve here,” Joyce Klopp said.
In their mission to improve the overall quality of life in the neighborhood, the couple directs a Neighborhood Connections program that includes a neighborhood/family event on Friday nights that offers a meal with families and individuals living in the area.
“The evenings provide a positive atmosphere and strengthen neighborhood relationships and communication,” Mrs. Klopp said. “Our Friday evening events are made possible by church groups and families who commit on a monthly basis to provide a meal, activities and build relationships in the neighborhoods.”
During the school year, there is an after-school program from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday for K-6 grade students who attend nearby schools, and the program includes:
- A meal served each evening.
- Individualized tutoring, literacy assistance, computer skills training.
- Speech and language enhancement in collaboration with St. Ambrose University Speech & Pathology Dept.
- Healthy recreational activities.
- Development of social, spiritual and interpersonal relationship skills.
- Opportunity to attend church club programs.
“We have a committed group of other part-time staff and volunteers, and we are always in need of more volunteers to help in a variety of areas, Joyce Klopp said.
The program also includes monthly neighborhood meetings that are attended by neighbors, law enforcement representatives and local aldermen to network in the community and discuss concerns of the neighborhood.
HBH is funded entirely by individuals, churches, civic groups and some grants. More information is available at www.hopeattherickhouse.org or on Facebook: Hope at the Brick House.
Contributions can be mailed to Hope at the Brick House, 1431 Ripley St., Davenport, Iowa 52803, and checks should be made payable to Hope at the Brick House (HBH).