Bistro Night says ‘thank you’ to local service agency
BY STEVE LEER
A group of social service workers who help disadvantaged and troubled youth received an overdue “thank you,” courtesy of Northview Church’s West Lafayette campus.
Personnel from Lafayette’s Bauer Community Center, some of the children and parents they serve and Northview attendees who volunteer as Bauer youth mentors enjoyed a lasagna dinner and bingo during a recent Northview Bistro Night in the church sanctuary.
About 25 people attended the evening of food and fun, which also included a balloon artist.
“We wanted to show Bauer how much we appreciate them and all the mentors that work there,” said Candace Glaser, Bistro Night coordinator. “They do so much for children in our community. They take care of them after school, help them with homework, play games with them and make a difference in their lives.”
Bauer Community Center provides a range of services for youth and their families, from recreation to educational programs to food, clothing and shelter. The Center is operated by Bauer Family Resources, a nonprofit organization that provides direct assistance to more than 10,000 residents of the Lafayette area each year.
Last summer Northview began partnering with the Center to start a youth mentorship program. After completing a short training program and background check mentors are assigned a child. Mentors meet with their assigned child once per week at the Center, where they can play games, make arts and crafts, help them with school work or just talk.
Seven Northview attendees currently serve as mentors.
“It has worked out fabulous,” said Cassie Leak, community center director for Bauer Family Resources. “The kids are constantly saying, ‘I want a mentor! I want a mentor!’ This program is providing our kids opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise. We couldn’t do this if we didn’t have a relationship with Northview.”
As thrilled as the Bauer children are to have a mentor to call their own, they were equally excited at Bistro Night. Every child and their parent who played bingo walked away with at least one prize, and local balloon artist Joseph White stopped at each table to create balloon animals and hats for the children.
“The kids are going to talk about this for weeks,” Leak said. “It might seem like something very simple – just going to a place and playing bingo and eating dinner – but it means a lot to these kids. It has a huge impact on them.”
Bistro Night, and other events like it, serve a higher purpose, Glaser said.
“It’s important to show the community how much we care about them and love them,” she said. “After all, that’s why we’re here: to show God’s love to us.”
Those interested in participating in Northview’s Bauer mentorship program can contact Margie Leer at firstname.lastname@example.org