Five Star Life in 2016!
Dear Five Star Life Partner,
We are so excited to update you on the incredible year we’ve had! We have experienced more growth in the last year than we have ever seen before. Our Video Curriculum for Classrooms has given us opportunities that we didn’t know existed. The number of students in our afterschool program is on the rise. We hosted our second year of Summit Life Leadership Camps and Day Trips at our camp, Summit. Our High School Leaders are taking the lessons and values they have been taught at Five Star Life and are investing back in middle school students with passion. We had over 600 volunteers working in our schools and giving their time at Summit. We will serve over 10,000 students each week through all of our programming in the 2016-2017 academic year!
Our impact can be seen across the country while we challenge thousands of students to live their best lives. We are confident that our intentional programming can touch even more students and change more lives as we continue to grow as an organization. Check out some of our 2016 highlights:
- Our Five Star Life Video Curriculum for Classrooms is bringing our Core Values to school districts throughout the country. When we started on this journey with the curriculum 18 months ago, we did not know the level of impact we would have. 18 months ago we were serving around 3,000 students. This year we will serve over 10,000 students!
- Summit, our leadership camp and training facility located in Union, MI, has seen incredible transformations. We have restored buildings and cabins, renovated our 45-acre lake, built out new trails, and much more. We hosted Summit Life Leadership Camps, Day Trips, and groups throughout the community this year with great success! In addition, we have been training educators in our Video Curriculum for them to take back to their schools.
- The Five Star Golf Open brought people together from all over the community and beyond. What an honor to be joined by Tim Brown, NFL Hall of Famer, and NFL great, Doug Flutie. A huge thank you to both of these men for taking the time to join us and thank you to all participants!
- Have you listened to our radio show? Each week we share stories, host guests, and talk about relevant issues for teens and their parents. Having this radio platform to share stories of impact has been one of our most useful tools in bringing more students to our programming. Tune in every Saturday at 11AM and Sunday at 8AM at www.953MNC.com.
None of these wins could have happened without your support. Thank you for your faithfulness to Five Star Life as we continue to train future leaders and impact the next generation. With all of the incredible growth and exciting events we have had over the last year, we must always come back to the fact that the need is great. These students need guidance. They are crying out for help and the urgency to reach them is stronger than ever before.
Incredible forces are being unleashed on our youth today. They are struggling with their identity, they are confused, their parents are in jail, they have been told that they don’t matter, children are taking care of children, and they feel HOPELESS. We felt the harsh reality of this when we lost three of our students to tragedies and suicide this year. Our hearts broke with their families as they had to come to terms with these losses.
They are broken. They are lost. They are desperate for help.
Ultimately, while these stories are heart wrenching, it intensifies our mission to reach these students. If we don’t help them, who will? Living a Five Star Life is more complicated than it ever used to be. It is our duty to equip them to take on the daily challenges and struggles they face. I want to tell you about a family and their journey with Five Star Life. Dominique, mother to Pierre, wanted a better life for her family and did everything in her power to make it happen.
They were living on the south side of Chicago where violence, murders, and drug use is a daily occurrence. Countless children being exposed to the gang culture, getting caught in the cross fire of violence, and never getting a chance for a future. “There was so much crime, even for the young children. They were dying, didn’t have a care for life, and didn’t expect a future to be in their path”, Dominque said. In addition to the violence in the neighborhood, Pierre was being bullied at school on a daily basis and it was taking a toll on him. Seeing the reality of the situation she was in, Dominique refused to allow this lifestyle for her son. She knew it was her duty as a mother to do everything in her power to give him a better life and give him a chance to succeed.
She left Chicago and moved her and her two children to Elkhart, Indiana. It was a fresh start. While they didn’t know anyone in Elkhart, she knew that the opportunities that would be open for her family far surpassed anything they had in Chicago.
When Pierre started at his new school, he had a 2.0 GPA. In addition to his low grades, he got in a fight the first week of school and was suspended. Dominique was desperate to find a program that would be able to help guide Pierre to make better decisions and care about his future. “I wanted him to be able to start over. I wanted to help him get a jumpstart.”
Pierre’s principal and teachers suggested a group called Five Star Life. Dominique went to sign up Pierre, and to her dismay, there was a waiting list. Too many students were in the program and there were not enough resources or volunteers. She was devastated but determined! She knew Pierre had to be a part of this program. “Sometimes you’ll get an obstacle, but you can’t let that obstacle keep that door closed for you. If you want something bad enough, you have to get up and kick it open! And that’s what happened… It was our destiny to succeed.” Dominique pushed through, spoke with me, and waited until a spot opened up. She was thrilled when Pierre was able to join Five Star!
When she walked into Five Star, she felt a sense of love and passion from the volunteer coaches towards Pierre. “It was blind love. No one looked at us like we were people that didn’t belong.”
The impact was immediate. There was a level of accountability that the students had that was different than anything she had seen before. For the first time, Pierre saw what his future could be. He wanted to be Five Star’s “Student of the Year.” He wanted to bring in better grades. By the end of the first season, his GPA jumped from a 2.0 to a 3.1! He wanted to succeed and knew it was within his reach!
Pierre is now THRIVING. He is a junior in high school, started a small business, and is talking about what college he wants to go to. He is involved with golf and tennis at his school and loves it. Dominique believes that Five Star was critical in helping him get to where he is today. She wanted a better life for her family but needed help. Five Star helped her reinforce values and lessons that she knew were important to help Pierre during the impressionable middle and high school years.
Just recently, Dominique joined me on our radio show to tell of her experience with Five Star and her story resonated with many of our listeners. “I believe in Five Star and I believe in everything that Five Star is about. Anyone that has a child, you want the best for your child. Everyone should have access to an environment like Five Star. It should be in all 50 states.”
Pierre matters and his story matters! His story is so important in showing our impact! Stories like Pierre’s are happening every day at Five Star Life. How different could Pierre’s life have turned out if he did not have Five Star to turn to? Where would he be today? These are questions that I don’t want to know the answer to, but these are questions that we must ask ourselves.
- Every school day in the United States, 7,000 students drop out of school.
- 80% of first time drug, alcohol, or tobacco use happens between the ages of 10–14, and between the hours of 3:00pm to 6:00pm.
- 85% of all juvenile crime occurs between 2:00pm and 7:00pm.
If we don’t reach these students in their middle school years, the chances of us losing them for good are high and probable. We cannot allow them to slip through the cracks. The mission of Five Star Life is to act as a catalyst of change for students throughout the country and it’s a mission we take very seriously. It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to help these students live a Five Star life. Our statistics are showing our true impact. Last year:
- 71% of our students raised their GPA or maintained a 3.0 or higher.
- 75% of our students completed their challenge steps.
- 67% of students reported FSL Video Curriculum “has helped me be a better person and leader.”
- Over 60% of students reported FSL Video Curriculum “improved my self-image and has changed my thoughts and actions toward myself.”
- Over 89% of teachers reported “FSL Video Curriculum provided a common set of values for our student body to live by.”
Our programs are influencing students and challenging them to live based off of our Core Values of respect, responsibility, integrity, sacrifice, and courage. We are instilling values in students that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The need is great and the answer is clear. Will you continue on this journey with us? Will you help to change the course of students’ lives across the country? Will you help us impact more students like Pierre? For just $18 a month, you can sponsor a student to be in FSL programming. $219 can sponsor a student for a year! With your help, we can be in all 50 states! It is crucial that we have your support. Please continue with me on this journey of impacting students. Thank you for your faithfulness to Five Star Life and your commitment to helping students just like Pierre.
P.S. Come see firsthand the impact of your gift! Join us at a school and visit Summit! Call our offices at 574-266-4038 to schedule a tour!
Our reconstructed barn, fishing dock, ropes course, Goodwin building, cabin village, and renovated lake are just a few of the exciting new things at Summit. With all of these renovations, our students will continue to be challenged as they face their fears and put their leadership skills to the test!