Staff Spotlight: Chanetta Yancey

Every year we enjoy introducing everyone to our incredible staff. Without them, our program would not be what it is today. Strong relationships are a resource we are proud to offer our students. We see first hand the difference it makes to have someone consistently pouring into their life throughout the year. As staff members grow in their knowledge and understanding of each child and their story, our services become more purposeful and impactful. This year we have several new faces on staff and we are excited to introduce one of them to you today.

Chanetta Yancey: Green Team Leader

1.How did you get started with Tiqvah?

When I was in high school there was a lady by the name of Sarah. She had began a program on Wednesday evenings and, I at the time, was so eager to help. Unfortunately, I was too young to drive myself, so I stopped coming and helping. Fast forward 10 1/2 years later. I'm on Facebook after having had a conversation with my husband of two days about finding a job with a cause. I worked for an awesome organization at the time but just felt like I was wasting my days helping a company and not people. I got a notification telling me that there was a new job posted in Canton, Ohio. I began to click it away because I didn’t even know Facebook even posted jobs. Instead, I clicked and it was a job from Tiqvah, and they were looking for team leaders. Immediately, the 15 year old in me that wished she could help was overwhelmed with joy. I sent over my resume, and within the hour Karla emailed me for an interview. Later that week I was offered a chance to go to the zoo with the kids. I enjoyed the kids so much that day, and now I get to see them daily. I am grateful God brought me full circle ten years later. I walk the halls and give hugs knowing where the program started and seeing where God has brought it now is one word: "Mind Blowing."

2. What do you do at Tiqvah?

I am the 5th grade team leader

3. What is your favorite part of Tiqvah and why?

When the children come in from school. They all come in running and overwhelm you with stories of their days at school. But all the love and hugs I get in that time and all the ones yelling "Ms. Netta" makes my day.

4. What motivates you to keep going on tough days?

Knowing that I am doing something bigger than myself. Also, my support system at home and other Tiqvah staff. 

5. What is one thing you wish people knew about Tiqvah?

How great our kids are. How awesome they are truly. We have future doctors, lawyers, fashion designers, coders and chefs. Everything that is done at Tiqvah shows our children that they can be anything. They pay attention to everything and soak it up like a sponge. Like their participation in different enrichments such as coding. I have 5th graders saying they want to make apps to help others someday!

6. What is one thing the kids would say if we asked them to tell us about you? 

I truly believe that eveyone is important. I tell my 5th graders daily "everyone is important". It doesn’t matter what they are wearing, smell like, whether they can do math , can read or what part of town they live in.  It’s not about that, it’s about the person. Oh and also that I can't sing, but I do ALOT!

As you can tell, our staff are the heart of our program. They make it possible to impact our kids body, mind, and soul. Thank you Chanetta for sharing your life with our Tiqvah Family!


'Tis the Season by Michelle Humble

Now that the ghosts and goblins have hung up their masks, a new chill has filled the air. The sound of jingle bells, the sights of sugar plums, and the warmth that the Christmas season brings is palpable. Some are not as eager and are choosing to savor this season of thankfulness and enjoy some more pumpkin themed products before we give way to peppermint.

Whichever camp you find yourselves in, the one thing that is true of most, is that whether you are thankful or preparing for Christmas, you are also gearing up for giving. This is the time of year we begin to reflect and plan how we will choose to give in light of all WE have been given. Working for Tiqvah has allowed me opportunities-a-plenty to give back both financially and with my time and talents. For all of you who may not work or volunteer for us, we wanted to give you a quick glimpse of the many ways you could partner with us this season and give back right here in your community.

  1. Shop with Amazon Smile: If you are like most, online shopping has made this time of year infinitely less stressful. Now, the way you shop can do more good. Amazon Smile gives back a portion of your purchase to the non profit of your choosing. We would love it if you chose Tiqvah Hands of Hope as you shop.

  2. Facebook Fundraiser: Did you know ANYONE can raise money via facebook for a non profit. Simply write up a status and click the fundraiser button underneath. Type in our name and voila! You have set up a mini fundraiser to get your friends and family involved. Not only are YOU being generous, but you are giving others the chance to do so! How great of you!

  3. Celebration of Hope: I of course am quite partial to this option as it is the best of both worlds. You will get to hear from our kids and enjoy a delicious brunch, as well as, be presented with some tangible ways to make donations that support programming and dreaming for our future at Tiqvah. You can reserve your spot for this event on our events page or by clicking here.

  4. Year End Giving: If you plan to do some year end giving before the tax cut off, the simplest way to do that, aside from our event, would be to visit our give page and make your one time donation there. If it is easier, click here.

  5. Gifting a Gift: I have some difficult to shop for family members. They either have everything they need or are just low maintenance people who really don’t want a lot of things. These folks are perfect candidates for giving the gift of giving. You can either sponsor a child for them, make a one time gift in their name, or come to our event and donate there and receive an ornament of thanks to give to that person. This is a creative and thoughtful way to double your giving power this Christmas season.

I hope this giving guide has provided you with some great ideas for the coming weeks. If you should have any questions regarding these gift ideas, please comment or contact us through the website and we would be happy to assist you. May your Thanksgiving and Christmas season be warm and full of love.

Success! by Karla Dennis

The opening line of our last blog published was “There are so many causes for celebration in life.” In that blog Michelle spoke of our extraordinary kids finding joy in the every day and even in the adverse situations they encounter.  I am lucky enough to witness this joy daily.  Our kiddos sometimes arrive to us tired, frustrated, spent, done!  We are intentional about teaching them how to self regulate, to be able to turn it around.  This is a process and takes it takes time; but once a child has the tools he or she needs, it is priceless!  Then, we celebrate with him! It is hard work for a child to be able to overcome adversity, and it does not go unnoticed at Tiqvah.

We take those kiddos on field trips monthly.  We went to Varian Orchards a few weeks ago and had a blast.  With everyone loaded on the party bus and off for an adventure, I stayed behind to tend to some set up. I could hear the screams and laughter ringing through the hills. It was so invasive that I found myself laughing out loud along with them.  The smiles on their little faces upon return told a great story.  The “rollercoaster” rides after pizza and apples were just as memorable!

Last week we were able to celebrate the success of the Green Team (5th grade) with a Harvest Party!  At the end of each day the team “grades” their day, if it was a good day they add another link to their class chain.  The chain reached the floor which means it was party time! They enjoyed a special dinner and watched a movie!  They are now starting a new chain to earn another party! Way to go Green!

We are now in the process of collecting report cards and planning our next field trip; this one looks a little different as we will be celebrating good grades! A favorable report card earns a spot! You will have to check our facebook page to see where we go, don’t want to spoil it just yet. 😉 In fact, check back often! Our incredibly dedicated team leaders are often taking kids on mini excursions on the weekends. We have two team leaders and two little boys at a Malone football game right now as I write this blog! They sent me a pic, look at those smiles!

Celebrate! by Michelle Humble

There are so many causes for celebration in life. There are of course the most notable occasions; Easter, Christmas, Fourth of July, birthdays, etc. New parents enjoy the celebration of firsts. Baby’s first steps, smile, laugh, haircut, sneeze. You name it, new parents are generally the most likely to celebrate it. Businesses often celebrate successful employees and their many milestones. Schools rejoice over a much needed victory over a rival. Teens become ecstatic over the newfound freedom a license and car provide or upon receiving a new phone. All of these events and occasions are verifiable causes for celebration.

At Tiqvah, we encounter so many reasons to celebrate that we decided several years ago to design an event for our friends to join in the fun. Our kids are extraordinary. They have a great ability to find joy in the every day and even in the adverse situations they encounter. We created Celebration of Hope to showcase the many ways our students find joy and hope. Specifically we allow them to share the ways they get to experience that at Tiqvah. Why keep it to ourselves? Last year we all laughed and smiled as so many of our students agreed that we share the best meals in the city! We also experienced the excitement of hearing how much our students look forward to seeing specific people, namely their team leaders and Ms. Karla, when they come to Tiqvah.

As we gear up for the coming holiday season, we could think of no better way to draw our attention to the meaning of it all. Hope. Hope found in Christ at Christmas; but also the hope we can provide to others.

If you would like to join us this year and start your Christmas season off right, reservations are available now. Click the link below to reserve your spot for brunch, delightful hot chocolate, and of course the merriment of hearing hope lived out.

Celebration of Hope

December 1st, 2018 at 9:30a in the Glenmoor Country Club

Open House

Have you ever been so excited about something you just had to tell others? As you begin explaining yourself you begin to realize that it may not be as clear in words as it is in your minds. This is an experience most staff members and volunteers of Tiqvah are quite familiar with. We do so much during programing and offer numerous opportunities for our kids and families. The best way to really get the whole picture is to see it in action. 

We are so thankful to our new and some familiar friends who made it out for our open house earlier this week. Taking the opportunity to see what it is our staff and volunteers rave about is something we are grateful you chose to do. If you are reading this lamenting a missed opportunity, never fear. There will be many more opportunities to come and check us out. Should you be wanting to volunteer or get involved, that would be a quick way to get a tour and introduced to our program. Our next volunteer training will be October 21st from 2-3:30p at Tiqvah. If you are interested in joining us please contact our site director, Karla, at 

As you look ahead at your calendar be sure to mark down our upcoming events; Celebration of Hope and Evening of Hope. These are great opportunities to hear what we are all about, meet some of our students and staff, and enjoy a wonderful atmosphere at the same time. Reservations are already available for our Celebration of Hope held at Glenmoor Country Club on December 1st. Visit our website and click on the “Events” tab to get more details and make your reservations. 


Coming Alongside by Michelle Humble

I have been working with Tiqvah for as long as it has existed. One of the many joys of being the founder’s daughter. Over the years there are a collection of moments or experiences with the program that have become my favorite. I know what you are thinking, staff are not supposed to have favorite anything! It never fails that though I claim one moment as most beloved another one comes along and reminds me how many experiences with Tiqvah I cherish. The Clothing Boutique is for sure on my list of favorites. As I reflect about the now 17 boutiques we have hosted, I realize that the truly amazing and lovable part of this event is not just the giving, but the experience of coming alongside. This event is not a demonstration of our strength and giving power. It is not just another opportunity for us to give things away. This event allows us to empower our parents to meet the needs of their families. We get to be spectators of the love and care our families, team leaders, and volunteers share at Tiqvah. It is a true picture of the FAMILY of Tiqvah.

As I walked around with my camera, snapping photos of the joy on faces as they make the perfect find, I got to see 30 volunteers aiding children whose parents could not make it and making sure the space was set up beautifully. I saw parents sizing up their child and holding incredible finds up to insure the perfect fit. I saw moms telling their girls how beautiful they’d look in that dress. Team leaders laughing as they directed students to clothing who got distracted by the immense stuffed animal collection. I saw long time friends and new faces joining together to make one incredible experience. Most clearly, I saw and felt love. There is nothing greater than to come alongside love that is already growing and thriving, add to it, drink it in, and celebrate it. Join us in celebrating another boutique well done. We are thankful to Teri Dillon and her crew who put this together and the COUNTLESS clothing donors who provided the goods. Our staff and volunteers at Tiqvah did a wonderful job going with the flow on a special day and making it a wonderful experience for our kids. And of course, we are thrilled to have welcomed our parents, families, and friends of the community as they shopped and are thankful for allowing us to come alongside and be part of their story. Enjoy catching a glimpse of the day by viewing the slideshow below!

Joyfully Stretching Our Reach by Karla Dennis

Here we are one month in already!  The classes are full, the schedule is full and the staff’s hearts are full!  Adding a classroom and one more day of programming has stretched us in many ways. I believe we may have growing pains, as my sister describes it.  Finding the room for dance and bucket drumming, maneuvering the delicate dance of getting everyone home in the vans, serving 70 meals a night!!  All such beautiful challenges! I have had to get used to the noise level at dinner. I admit I thought it was just a bit too loud at first. However, every night when I look around, I see kids helping one another, playing together as they clean up their tables, hugging and singing goodbyes….. I see family. I now realize the noise is necessary and beautiful.

We have 97% of the kids from last year!  We also have added quite a few new faces and they have become members of our family in no time! It is such a joy to watch new friendships form. We also have new staff this year who are already operating as a team and I could not be more satisfied and pleased! It is a joy watching these team leaders work as I travel throughout the building; checking on this detail, taking this child to get a band-aid, stopping to bust a dance move with this child, leading this child to some quiet time…..  each classroom has their own distinct style with each team leader representing Tiqvah with such love, grace and patience.  We have been blessed with the best of the best! 

I am grateful for the support of our hosts, Christ Presbyterian Church, as they share our vision and strive to fill our every need.  They have found us rooms in the church we never knew existed! Through their support we are comfortable and safe.

I am grateful for the many volunteers and behind-the-scenes supporters who are unwavering in their dedication; to me personally and to me as site director. I love the vision they all share with me. These growing pains don’t stand a chance against God and His faithful servants! Offering Tiqvah to more families for more days is truly a blessing. If you want to come see how it is all possible, don’t forget to visit us during our open house October 10th from 4:30-6:30p.

Plus One by Michelle Humble

Before finding my fabulous husband, receiving an invitation to a wedding always came with a plus one. Finding a willing soul to come and endure the wedding food, slow dances, and usually numerous family members with probing questions was always a tough task. As we plan our upcoming open house we have a challenge for all of our friends. We are challenging you to bring a plus one.

Unlike my previous experience, there won’t be awkward social situations for them to endure or embarrassing family stories. You and your friend will be experiencing the joy of seeing impact in action. You will get to witness the beauty of mentorship in person and the excitement of programming. There will be light refreshments, a cheerful tour guide, and other folks like yourselves who are there to enjoy the experience. You may even make NEW friends who, like you, are learning all about programs that are happening in their community.

Here are some exciting side effects to bringing a friend to our open house.

  1. Someone who has NEVER heard of our program will get to meet us.

  2. You will be given an opportunity to take your next steps of involvement with Tiqvah by getting someone else involved and in love with our program.

  3. Our team leaders, staff, and volunteers will feel the excitement of support as many people come to see the work they do.

  4. You and your friend will have a mutual shared experience that bonds you together and adds depth to your relationship.

  5. You and your friend will discover ways to serve, pray, and/or give together.

Prayerfully consider our plus one challenge as you mark your calendar for October 10th, 4:30-6:30p. Visit our facebook page (link at the bottom of this site) to RSVP to the open house and invite everyone on your friend list. We hope to see you and your plus one there!

Sponsorship by Lesley Doan

According to Wikipedia - Sponsoring something or someone is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially. The individual or group that provides the support is known as a sponsor.

When I was growing up our family sponsored a child overseas and I loved getting the letters from her. We received a photos from her and got to see her grow through the pictures. As a teen I sponsored a child in Haiti and got to meet her while traveling there on a mission trip. This was an amazing experience for me but I know that others often don’t get that experience. We pray for these students and send our financial support but meeting them and spending time with them is often not convenient or affordable. When I started working at Tiqvah one of the first things we did as a family was sponsor a Tiqvah student. Our Tiqvah student is now in junior high. We get to write to him, volunteer in his classroom, attend special events and see him grow because our Tiqvah student is only 15 minutes from our house. 

Tiqvah is a non-profit organization (501c3) that offers our program free of charge to students and their families. We are able to do this through grants, fundraisers, direct public support and individual contributions. Last year alone 45% of our income came from individual contributions. This is a huge blessing and one that we must continue to grow in order to reach sustainability and growth. With our financial blessings this year we have been able to:

  • Maintain a teacher to child ratio of 1:13 within 6 classrooms (goal of 72 students)

    • First/Second grade, Third grade, Forth grade, Fifth grade, Jr. High Girls, Jr. High Boys

    • Elementary teachers at 30 hours a week (4 teachers) and two days a week for both Jr. High Girls and Boys

  • Four program days a week for 1st-5th grades and two days a week for both Jr. High Girls and Jr. High BoysMaintain a teacher to child ratio of 1:12 within 6 classrooms (goal of 72 students)

  • Two snacks (including one fresh fruit) plus higher quality dinners

  • Tiqvah graduate mentoring program (Tiqvah Bridge) 

This is where sponsorship comes into play. For those interested in supporting us individually or as a small group or business for an on-going basis we have a program called sponsorship. Through sponsorship you are welcome to choose a Tiqvah student to be your sponsorship child or you can choose to sponsor a “seat” in one of our Tiqvah classrooms. Sponsoring a child or “seat” is rewarding for both the sponsor and the child. The impact your support makes is so much more than food and shelter. This partnership provides an opportunity for spiritual and emotional security.  In other words; Hope. As a sponsor, here are some ways we invite you to get involved:

  • Write to your child.

  • Sign up to volunteer at Tiqvah.

  • Pray for your child.

  • Come to our Christmas and Spring dinners to see your child perform and enjoy dinner with our students.

  • Receive invites to special events like program tours, connect events, and team trainings.  

  • Attend and contribute to our annual fundraising events (5k in the summer and dinner in the spring)

  • Receive Tiqvah quarterly newsletters, as well as, a sponsor only newsletter from your child’s classroom at least 3 times a school year. 

If you would like to help support Tiqvah and our efforts to make a difference in our community and to further God’s kingdom please click on the link below.

The second type of sponsorship offered at Tiqvah is through our fundraising events. Last year 19% of our income came from our fundraisers. Fundraisers are an important aspect of our sustainability at Tiqvah and also a fun way to share our program with friends and family. If you are an area business owner or know someone who would be interested in sponsoring one of our fundraising events (Celebration of Hope on Dec 1st at Glenmoor Country Club; Evening of Hope on March 9th at Cultural Art Center; or 5K at Kent/Stark State in July) please contact Executive Director, Lesley Doan via email or by phone at (330) 354-9697. 

Ten years of first days by Michelle Humble

Ten years ago, Sarah Kropf had been introduced to the Edward “Peel” Coleman community center through volunteering there with another program. Students often came to the program from hanging out in the center, playing in the gym, or walking from local homes. As they arrived it became clear that homework hadn’t been completed, snacks were not had, along with many other needs. As relationships formed, Tiqvah Hands of Hope was born. Our first first day was had as we expanded programming to cover three days for a small group of young elementary age students. 

Every following first day it seemed to expose a new need, a new future, a new direction for our kids and their families. We went from first through third grade and expanded through fifth and now find ourselves serving all the way up through high school. We moved from the community center to Sherrick Road Church of God, to St. Pauls Episcopal Church, to Christ Presbyterian. We provided two enrichment opportunities, four, and now as many as we can get our hands on. One of the funniest comparisons is to the dinner portion of our program. The community center we started in had only a small prep kitchen with limited resources. Often times meals were donated or you would find our fearless leader in the tiny kitchen trying to prepare a meal for 30 people using a tiny single stove. Now we pay a food coordinator and have access to a professional grade kitchen. We went from having NO paid staff but several committed and generous volunteers, to now being able to provide six team leaders, a site director, and executive director to mentor our children on top of those incredible volunteers. There have been faces that have been around since the beginning and faces that are new and exciting. 

Through it all there have been some incredible constants. Every first day the students are met with cheers and excitement from the staff and volunteers. They are introduced to a person who will spend the whole year pouring into them, showing them the love of Christ, and walking with them as they gain the necessary tools to succeed in school and life. Our kids are offered resources that go beyond the tangible but include the tangible. 

Above all, God has lead the way and made possible the seemingly IMPOSSIBLE. We were reminded every September of how incapable we are but how strong He is. It never fails that the moment we felt unsure of how things would come together, God told us to watch and learn. 

As we celebrate the first day of programming that happened this week, we are not just excited about all we are certainly going to see God do this year. We also celebrate the past first days that have paved the way for this one to take place. It is hard to imagine that there have been ten, but not hard to imagine the many more God will provide.

The Final Countdown by Karla Dennis

Final countdown to kiddos!!  To-do lists are just about all checked off, classrooms are in order….now we wait for the excitement, laughter and crazy that comes with that first bus that pulls up. The first day is one of my favorites all year.  The excitement that we have built up on our side as we have prepared all summer for this day, is uncontainable!  We have prayed and we have prepared - now it’s time to go live! 

This school year looks quite different for us and we couldn’t be more pleased! We have added a class and also have added a day each for the jr. high girls and the jr. high boys; they will each now have 2 afternoons a week. What a joy to be able to offer these extra days. 

We have new staff as well!  As the site director, the process of interviewing and hiring new staff can make me anxious as I hope and pray for the right fit.  God did not disappoint!  I am so excited to introduce to you our line-up of staff. We have Miss Brittany in the kitchen keeping us well fed. Miss Mariah is official now in the 1st/2nd grade classroom (we all know Miss Mariah as she has been a volunteer for a few years). Miss Ariel will be keeping our 3rd graders busy and loved. Miss Ashley is returning for her 5th year with Tiqvah with 4th graders this year! Miss Netta can’t wait to meet her 5th graders.  Mr Chad returns for his second year with our jr. high boys. Miss Kim is excited to work with our jr. high girls.  

We have spent hours and hours in trainings and out in the community this summer preparing for this first day and beyond.  We are so very blessed to have our friends from Encompass Christian Counseling offer us another Trauma and Attachment training. The information they share and the partnership we enjoy with them is priceless.  We are claiming Trauma Informed Care Site this year; this has been a long time coming and we could not have gotten here without their help and guidance. When the Encompass counselors first introduced the concept of being Trauma Informed a few years back, the implementation of practices and a suitable structure is something I have been very passionate about since. I am very proud of these staff members and the way they have all embraced it with me.  

I ask for your prayers as we enter into another year serving the children.  We ask for endless patience and boundless love, for wisdom and discernment and for hallways full of laughter and kindness.

 2018-2019 Tiqvah Staff (left to right) Chad, Ariel, Mariah, Karla, Kim, Ashley, Netta, Brittany

2018-2019 Tiqvah Staff (left to right) Chad, Ariel, Mariah, Karla, Kim, Ashley, Netta, Brittany

Faith by Lesley Doan

“What if I fall?” “Oh my darling, but what if you fly?”

Faith is something that has grown in my life over the years. About seven years ago I was in a very low place and through my challenges I heard God’s prompting me to take a step out of my comfort zone. It took some time but I finally listened and the outcome was more that I could imagine. I was able to start a preschool through our current church and God provided the finances, the staff and the amazing students. He defiantly helped me fly! Fast forward to about  two years ago and another situation arose when I was challenged yet again to step out into faith. I was new to the Canton area, I was pregnant with our fourth child and God was prompting me to interview for the Executive Director position at Tiqvah Hands of Hope. God was there again and he has been helping me fly. Through both situation my faith continues to grow because when I don’t let my fear overtake my faith, God wins and he is always there!

One of the things I love so much about Tiqvah is the faith that it was built upon. Ten years ago our founder, Sarah Kropf, decided to step out in faith. She saw a problem and instead of asking what others were going to do about it, she did something. When the locations for Tiqvah were being outgrown or when the bank account didn’t show the number that it needed…she had faith and God showed up and he kept showing up!

As the Executive Director I can tell you that Tiqvah continues to operate by faith. Having faith doesn’t mean we are irresponsible or doing only what we want, it’s listening to God’s plan and allowing him to lead…even if it is WAY out of our comfort zone. I am reminded daily that God has Tiqvah and he has big plans for us at Tiqvah. When we have struggled God has provided. He puts people in the right place at the right time. I pray daily that God gives me the words to say and that he soften the hearts of those I meet to share with them our cause at Tiqvah. 

In the pictures you will see some examples of God’s faithfulness to Tiqvah in this past year alone:

  • 15 iPads were donated to help us during academic time and with teaching our students coding
  • We were in need of another van to transport more students and God provided donors for us to be able to purchase Papa Smurf
  • Volunteers are very critical at Tiqvah and God provided us with some very dedicated volunteers, one teaches yoga to our students weekly
  • We had a company and some individuals to bless our students during Christmas with toys, PJs and a family basket full of goodies for Christmas Break
  • Thanks to some awesome volunteers we were also able to offer an “elf shop” for Christmas where Tiqvah students could pick gifts for their family members
  • Our Celebration of Hope and Evening of Hope were presented a little different this year and God showed up, allowing them to both be very successful
  • And our amazing students, I believe its through faith that these students are entrusted to us at Tiqvah, so that we can share God's love with them!

Like I said, these are just a few examples of the amazing things God has done in just the past year. Moving forward I am reminded what God has said in Matthew 17:20…”faith can move mountains.” Watch out Canton, God is on the move and Tiqvah is with him!


A Heart Full by Karla Dennis

Getting ready for the new school year equals endless “To Do” lists.  Seems for every item I cross off I think of two more to take it's place!  Will we ever be ready??  Just when I was beginning to feel overwhelmed, some Angels stopped by with mountains of school supplies and book bags. They then spent a few quick hours stuffing the bags with the appropriate supplies for each grade for our kids.  Now, I am overwhelmed in such a joyful way - what these full book bags represent is priceless.  

I have now spent three afternoons (with a new staff member or two) visiting each family's home.  I take a grade appropriate book bag for each child and sit on the porch with mom as she fills out our paperwork to enroll at Tiqvah this year. It may just sound like 30 minutes to you, but this time is so precious.  The kids faces when I hand them a new (HEAVY) book bag will never be forgotten and the relationships formed and strengthened while filling out paperwork are so special. My spirit has been renewed and my heart is full of gratitude for the families allowing us into their lives and for our Angels that supplied the book bags.  My “To Do” list is now met with a happy, willing, and excited heart! 

As excited as I am, I am also aware that without the help of generous people, we can not do what we do. As the school year approaches, these areas of need have come to my attention.  One such need is for van drivers. We have three vans that we use to take a good percent of our kiddos home at the end of the evening.  We have some very faithful folks blessing us again this year as drivers, but since we have added a day of programming, we are in need of more gentlemen.  The time commitment is one hour a week, (7:00-8:00pm) any day - Monday through Thursday.  

We also are always in need of snacks (chips, granola bars, fresh fruit, etc), toothbrushes and toothpaste.  We go through these items at record speed!!

Lastly, I have a secret Blessings Box that holds gift cards to grocery stores, gas stations, fast food stores, and the like. This box allows me to bless a family from time to time when I hear of a need and it is getting low. The gift cards are most appropriate at $10.00- $50.00 amounts.

If driving, bringing snacks, or donating gift cards are ways you would be willing to get involved, click the button below to let us know. 

All of these areas of need are opportunities for you, our friends and supporters, to take your next step in involvement with us. They are ways for you to be part of the excitement. You can contribute to the fullness our families and students feel when their needs are met, they are loved, and shown how valuable they are. Join us! Click below to let us know how you will be getting involved this school year. 

Purposeful Summer by Karla Dennis

I can’t believe we have only one more week of summer programming! Is it possible that school starts up again in just a few short weeks??  We have certainly made the best of our time with our kids.  Although we are still quite structured in the summer as our kids (and us adults too!) thrive best with that, we serve fewer kids which allows for an impressive student/adult ratio.  We are able to really give that one on one time every child desires and deserves. Another thing we notice is the difference it makes to spend the “good hours of the day” with the kids.  We usually see them after 6 hours of school, they come to us often times tired, hungry, frustrated, etc. and we do our best to turn that around for them.  But in the summer….well, it’s summer!!  Need I say more?  

Ask any of our summer staff what they like best about summer Tiqvah, and I am betting they would say the opportunity to deepen the relationship with each child. The relaxed atmosphere and lower numbers provide the perfect atmosphere to go deeper, to learn more and to share more. We have learned new and exciting things about each child these two months, which translates to our ability to better serve them in the fall.  This is true with our seasoned volunteers as well.  We are so blessed with some really awesome, faithful folks that show up for our kids!  They are there for them every season, challenging themselves to go even deeper. It is what we call a real win-win!

This summer we also had a number of high school students volunteer with us; all exceptional young men and women.  These young people have blessed us in countless ways.  The relationships they have built in such a short time, the unconditional love I see them display and the way the kids respond to these “almost adults” is priceless.

We will cherish this next and last week of summer programming, then we switch gears as we prepare for the new school year.  The excitement that brings is a complete force of its’ own! Although a little time off is always important; to refresh and re-energize, but truthfully - at Tiqvah - we can’t wait for school to start so we can get back at it!

Gathering of Heroes

Most super hero stories have lots of action, adventure, and drama. Inevitably there are many forces attempting to thwart the mission of said hero. This year at our annual Run4Kids 5K our heroes had little to no resistance in their mission. We had over 150 runners; or heroes rather, come out and compete. As they raced along the course we had so many of our friends line the course to cheer them on. Their mission was not simply a run, but to help us raise awareness and funds to support our mission of impacting children's lives - body, mind and soul. 

In attendance were some of our very own students and their team leaders. When it comes to heroism, our staff and students are some of the strongest out there. It was a treat to watch as our kids prepared themselves for the run, hyped one another up, and leaned on the leadership of our team leaders and site director for encouragement. In the final stretch, one of our jr. high boys was just about to be passed by one of our team leaders. As we cheered them on, the student pushed through and pulled ahead solidly. They celebrated together at the finish and we all got a good laugh at the close call. The display of the impact a solid relationship can have in a student's life and how it yields perseverance, endurance, and mutual encouragement was inspiring to all. 

The night was intended for a race, but included all sorts of fun. There was a bounce house, face painting, sidewalk chalk, and a rockin' DJ providing entertainment all evening. After the race, our teams enjoyed some great dancing together as they eagerly awaited the results of the race. Winners were awards some fabulous gift cards and a mug created by specially for them. 

We are so thrilled for all who attended and of course the winners, but it does feel like we were the real winners. As an organization we feel supported, encouraged, and lifted up by the event and all who attended & volunteered. Enjoy looking through some photos of the event and the many heroes in attendance. 


Opportunity of a Lifetime by Michelle Humble & Karla Dennis

I will never forget the summer I worked with young children. It was harder work than, up to that point, I had ever done in my life. Being responsible for another human being can be overwhelming, especially when these humans are barely capable of caring for themselves. I remember telling a friend of mine after my summer leading the kindergarten room, “I am just not cut out to work with kids. It takes a special person and its just not me.” The irony in that statement years later still rings in my ears. I went on to help Tiqvah get off the ground, serve as  a children’s ministry director for five years, and substitute teach in Canton City Schools and Strasburg Local. You see, when working with kids was just a job to me, it was draining and overwhelming work. What allowed me to grow into years and years of working with children was putting on a different set of glasses. I didn’t have a job, I had an opportunity. I wasn’t just responsible for kids, I was gifted time and moments with them. Working with children doesn’t demand a special person, just a special way of seeing the work. Anyone can don these lenses. Anyone can learn the ins and outs of working with children, even children who’s lives you cannot relate to. But it is TOUGH work to wear new glasses. We are currently looking for some folks who are looking to see the opportunity in front of them to impact kids in their community.

We are hiring team leaders for the coming school year. Team leaders are not teachers. They are not parents, they are adults who love them, lead them, and demonstrate care for others.  A team leader is one who will spend the time to know a child and what makes them tick. Creating an environment and atmosphere of trust and respect will be a huge priority for the team leader.  What makes our program unique is the relationship we encourage our team leaders to have with their students. We keep our ratios low and offer opportunities for our kids and staff to know each other well. A team leader will also need to invest spiritually in the lives of their students. They will lead small group discussions and teach lessons about character from scripture. These people are the heart of our program. Without them, we would not be hands of HOPE. I guess more accurately, they are the outstretched HANDS. If this sounds appealing or strikes your interest, here are some important details to note:

  • Team Leaders work 26-30hrs a week
  • Requires good initiative, organizational, communication, & time management skills.
  • Visits to schools, calls and visits to parents, and van driving included in tasks. 
  • Hours of work will be mostly afternoon/evenings (after school) 
  • Must be willing to work as a team with other leaders and staff. 
  • Must be a Christ follower and active participant in personal spiritual development. 

We hope someone reading this will be inspired to take this opportunity and impact the life of a child. For more information, click the link below. It will send your information directly to Ms. Karla Dennis, our site director, to contact you with details.


 Ms. Karla and her yellow team girls from when she was a team leader. She now holds the role of Site Director

Ms. Karla and her yellow team girls from when she was a team leader. She now holds the role of Site Director

Partnership by Lesley Doan

Partnership. What does that word mean to you? According to Wikipedia, “a partnership is an arrangement where parties, known as partners, agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. The partners in a partnership may be individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments or combinations.” To advance their mutual interests, to be working towards the same goal or end result. 

This year at Tiqvah we have two new partnerships that have started to grow. Two men who are hitting the pavement and truly trying to make a change and difference in Canton Ohio. These two men go strong all day long and are always focused on the end result…to make our city and the people who live here better. 

The first partner is Officer Lamar Sharpe. His name seemed to keep coming up last summer and so we invited him to help us welcome our students on our first day of programing as they got off the bus. Our students were excited to see him and were familiar with him from their schools and neighborhoods. Since then Officer Sharpe has not been a stranger to Tiqvah. He helped connect us with CSE Federal Credit Union who provided our Jr. High students with new bicycles. When he needed a space for his Be A Better Me Foundation Mentoring Group we helped him connect with Christ Presbyterian and found him space. He spoke at our Evening of Hope fundraiser and even invited our boys to be part in one of his mentoring group sessions with Mike Rowe from the show “Dirty Jobs”. When we attended his fundraiser event he took time introduce us to the attendees. Officer Sharpe is a great man who is doing great things in Canton and we are blessed to have him on our team! 

The second partner new to Tiqvah this year is Kelly “Prodigal Son” Williams. I first met Mr. Kelly at an event where our organizations were sharing information and his students were performing. From there, Mr. Kelly came out to Tiqvah and did a mentoring group in the fall for our Jr. High boys. As a local artist and performer, we weren’t ready to say goodbye to Mr. Kelly! We have some students at Tiqvah who love to perform and we knew having Mr. Kelly around could spark the creativity in those students. Through the winter and spring Mr. Kelly worked with our younger students as well as the Jr. High boys and both groups were able to perform at our Evening of Hope Celebration. Mr. Kelly was also our MC for the Evening of Hope Celebration and we are so gracious for the energy he brought to the event. This summer Mr. Kelly is working with a group of our students weekly on a few songs for the 2019 Stellar Awards. This is very exciting for our students and something they would not experience without our partnership with Mr. Kelly. Along with mentoring young musicians and producers Mr. Kelly speaks to ex convicts and helps them as they reenter into society. Mr. Kelly is a wonderful man who is also doing great things in Canton and we are blessed to have him on our team as well!

Both Officer Sharpe and Mr. Kelly have their own organizations and yet they see the big picture and they see that together we can make a bigger impact. Together we are advancing our mutual interests and working for the common goal to make a difference in Canton Ohio. We want to be the change! In Mathew (9:37-38) Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into the field.” This is our prayer, that God will send more workers into this mission field of Canton, Ohio. There are so many ways to get involved and the mission field is here and now. We would love to get you connected so that you can start using your gifts and talents to further the kingdom of God. At Tiqvah we have individuals who volunteer their time and work with some of our students weekly. We also have individuals who get a group of friends or co workers together and make and serve our students dinner. Still others donate financially to help our program be sustainable. The possibilities to get connected are endless. Help us be the change, help us positively impact the children of Canton by reaching the whole child- body, mind and soul. Together as partners we can do this! 

Please click below to sign up to volunteer and receive more information. 

Summer Together by Karla Dennis

Everyone’s favorite season is upon us! Summertime - of lazy days and fun adventures. We love summertime at Tiqvah. We have programming two days a week full of outdoor fun, group time, chapel, and even Performing Arts with Mr. Kelly.  One whole day a week is all about field trips!  We load up those vans and head out to an adventure! We went to Boettler Park yesterday and had a blast! The weather was perfect and the kids were excited to have the whole day playing outside. After we went on a bear hunt in the woods and ate our lunch, we spent the afternoon playing on their extensive playground. I was lucky enough to witness a new friendship blossom, a deep and genuine conversation between a child and one of our volunteers, one of our kids helping a child from another group there, and countless other snapshot moments of pure joy.  What is most pleasing is how at the end of the day the staff and volunteers are just as exhausted as the kids - because we play just as hard! I love that about our Tiqvah adults and their Tiqvah hearts! Summertime at Tiqvah is a little more slow paced and a little less structured which makes it a perfect environment to deepen the relationships between the kids and the adults. 

Relationships are at the core of who we are at Tiqvah. Relationships allow hope for a future to flourish. They encourage perseverance and growth. The best part is, both the student and adult generally experience these wonderful side effects. The impact is mutual. As our summer programming for kids kicked off, our parent group gathered to celebrate a student turned volunteer who graduated high school a few weeks ago. Sa'Mariyah will be heading to college in the fall and we wanted to celebrate these exciting happenings with her. That is what family does. We share wins and push one another on to more. The Tiqvah family is no different. Congratulations Sa'Mariyah! We are rooting for you! 

I Am Third by Karla Dennis

This past week we had our 4th Annual Tiqvah Olympics!  Tiqvah Olympics are high energy and tons of fun. The kids are mixed up randomly into two teams; The Rebels, who are led by this verse in Matthew (7:13) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” and The Transformers follow Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

Tiqvah Olympics is a week of friendly competitions, all for His glory.  Our underlying theme or rule is simple: “I’m third.”  (God is first, others second and I’m third.)  Teaching the children to compete with an “I’m third” attitude, then watching them model it successfully is quite spectacular. We witnessed kids rooting on friends on the opposite team.  We saw a team that lost a competition, praise and clap for the winning team. We saw teams lose with grace and teams win with grace.  

When a leader witnessed an “I’m third” attitude, a ticket corresponding to the team’s color went into the bin. A ticket also went into the bin for the winning team of each competition…..and there were loads of competitions! As I write this, I do not yet know which is the winning team.  We will dump out the bin and count up the tickets on Tuesday and announce the winners before our surprise dance party! 😉

At the end of our Tiqvah day Thursday, the children were excused to go outside without their book bags….. they were confused as this is not how we dismiss! The surprise and reward for such a great week waiting for them was an ice cream truck!! The squeals and excitement could be heard the whole city block! 

The Tiqvah Olympics, the ice cream truck, and frankly, our whole year of programming could not have been possible without all the awesome, loving and selfless volunteers! Though the children enjoyed the ice cream truck immensely, it was hired to come as a treat to our volunteers as well. Before it arrived we shared a dinner with them and several students recited a lovely poem thanking them for all they do.  We are so blessed to have each of you on our team! Thank you for practicing the "I am third" attitude as a volunteer at Tiqvah.