Indianapolis School Sees Potential in the Neglected Students

Nov 12, 2002 03:00 AM EST

An African American Pastor in Indianapolis is leading troubled and impoverished kids out of their conditions. A former high-school dropout, Kenneth Sullivan devotes his life to establishing ministries similar to his "North Star Christian Academy."

The mission for the North Star Christian Academy is to allow "parents, teachers, and the students" understand that Christians are not mere Christians by name. This urban Christian school recently sponsors approximately 170 children.

In addition to North Star, Sullivan's Christian Charity Academy is the Charity Christian Center Family Church, where he pastors, Little Ducklings day care, and Nehemiah Christian College. At the Nehemial Christian college, people are trained to be teachers and to plant churches with day-care centers and schools.

"We are Christian in the way we do business," Ellis said. "We are Christian in how we teach the children. God is the head. We are training them so that they can grow up and be all that God has created them to be. We teach them that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives, but it's up to them what they do with that."

In the midst of understaffed, under equipped and under trained educational systems, the North Star staff finds potential in the children rejected by mainstream educational systems.

"A lot of times special talents come with special needs," said Sullivan's wife, Joyce, referring to the core group of difficult children who receive ministry at North Star. "We try to recognize those [students] and channel them to be productive."

"Kids need spiritual and moral instruction," Sullivan said. "The public school system tries to educate them in a values-free environment. We have a tremendous opportunity to impact these kids since they are at school such a large part of the day."

Justin, who had moved to four different schools because of behavioral problems, comments his transformation from the North Star School. "My life has changed so much," said the 13-year-old, who left North Star to begin seventh grade this year. "...I am a Christian. I did not expect that to happen. My mom and I get along way better now. The pastor, my teacher and my principal are, like, my best friends. Everybody here I love and respect."

Justin has now gained great dreams for his future. "Miss Ellis and Pastor Sullivan said they would both come see me when I go on to seventh grade and see how I am doing," he said. "I really want to do well."

The Sullivans' love for mankind has transformed a troubled community filled with drugs, alcoholism, drive-by shootings, and broken families, into a community woven together with hopes and dreams. Sullivan now work with other pastors to create similar institutions in their communities.

By Pauline J.