Human Flourishing

Children’s Jubilee Fund was established in 1997 a scholarship organization, specifically supporting lower-income students in and around Philadelphia who were unable to attend private Christian schools. But Jubilee is much more than merely a scholarship organization. We are a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Kingdom into focus in the lives of the families and communities we serve. We are ambassadors of God’s grace, pointing people to the new hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through offering them new opportunities to thrive.

Jubilee’s ambassadorial mission is built around ten core values, which we’ll explore one at a time in this blog series.  The first of these core values is human flourishing

Human flourishing can be described as “the fulfillment of God’s good purposes for human creatures and includes the dimensions of relationship with God, relationships with others, living a physically embodied and integrated life, and living out a particular vocation in a particular place and time.”[i]

Put another way, human flourishing is embodied in the biblical concept of shalom, of being whole—of prospering in ways consistent with God’s redemptive intent for creation. Jubilee works to accomplish human flourishing within the definition of our mission in three distinct ways: providing new academic opportunities, encouraging new social engagement, and lifting up Jesus Christ as Lord. Here’s how we do that.

Provide new academic opportunities. Jubilee was created in part to address the public education crisis in Philadelphia in the 1980s and 1990s. We knew that city-based students who had no educational options other than their neighborhood public schools would be disadvantaged from the start. Philadelphia public schools have historically struggled to meet system-wide educational performance goals. But the problem isn’t just in the past. Recent data spanning 2012-2019 showed that the School District of Philadelphia performance fell in more than half of its key performance indicators during that period.[ii] Jubilee Network Schools score consistently better than their public counterparts in key performance metrics, and have college matriculation rates of over 90%–nearly twice that of the Philadelphia public schools, which had a 48% matriculation rate, according to their most recent data.[iii]

Encourage new social engagement. Students model their behavior and values from the people around them. Here is an excerpt from a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer authored by Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District:

In recent years, the education sector has faced a variety of hurdles, beyond the increased stress, anxiety, and social-emotional challenges that emerged during the pandemic. Like other large cities, Philadelphia, home of the eighth-largest school district in the nation, has battled generational and systemic poverty and a continued rise in gun violence. It is hard to prepare our students — more than 80% of whom identify as students of color — to compete globally when they are facing societal barriers that impact their ability to learn and excel.[iv]

Jubilee provides opportunities for students to attend schools with lower student-teacher ratios so that children who need more specialized attention and emotional support can receive it. Our network schools have no-tolerance policies for bullying or violence. And, students are treated with the respect that they deserve because they are image-bearers of God. All these elements (and more) of a Christian school education provide a powerful testimony to students that they have dignity and can hope in a different future for themselves and their communities than they might otherwise face.

Lift up Jesus Christ as Lord. As Christian institutions, each of our network schools is committed to uphold and proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas of life. Our schools teach through their curricula from a Christian worldview, and students are encouraged to explore and embrace faith in Jesus. This alone has tremendous impact in the lives of not only our students, but their households and extended families as well. Some of our students will share their faith and make an impact in their families and communities for generations to come.

These are just some of the ways in which Jubilee pursues human flourishing for its students, schools, and communities. To learn more about the work of Children’s Jubilee Fund, visit our website.

Children’s Jubilee Fund depends upon the generous gifts of God’s people to fund the life-changing scholarships we provide. To make a tax-deductible gift of support, click here.

[i] Neil Messer, Human Flourishing: A Christian Theological Perspective,, last accessed 08/14/2023

[iii] Philadelphia School District website,, last accessed 08/14/2023

Talking with Children about Lent

Talking with Children About Lent

Believe it or not, there’s more than one calendar in the world! The church calendar is an annual schedule of holidays and seasons that mark certain events or seasons both in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, and in the faith experience of his followers.

The church calendar was devised as a teaching tool during pre-literate times so that every year Christians who could not read Scripture for themselves were walked through and learned important facts about the work of salvation that Jesus had accomplished for them.

One of the seasons on the church calendar is Lent. Lent is the season that precedes Easter. It’s a season that you’ve probably heard about before. But why do Christians mark this time as special during the year?

Lent is a season 40 days long that reminds us of Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness during his temptation by the devil. The Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this time in Jesus’s life. You can read about it here. It came right before he started his public ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing.

During his 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus fasted (went without eating), prayed, and meditated on God’s Word and on the mission his Father had called him to fulfill. That mission included teaching and preaching about the plan of salvation that God had for his people. But the bigger part of the mission was that Jesus, the only Son of God, was going to die himself on a cross in order to pay for the sins of his people—and then after being dead, he would return to life on the third day after his death (that’s the resurrection, which we celebrate on Easter).

Jesus’s mission was a huge mission—the biggest there would ever be—and he wanted to prepare for it in this special way. And so during Lent, many Christians remember what Jesus did for them and for the world in a special way by focusing on Jesus’s teaching, and on his suffering and death on the cross.

Many Christians also use the season of Lent to remember why Jesus came and died to save them—because of their sin. And, they devote themselves to a process of repentance—which is loving God, resting in his forgiveness through Jesus’s work on the cross, and turning away from sin and sinful temptations.

So, during Lent, Christians often give up things as a reminder of Jesus’s fasting in the wilderness. Some of the things we tend to give up are bad habits (like cursing, smoking, overeating, and so on)—but we also give up things that keep us from turning to Jesus and enjoying his presence in the first place. Some of those things could be dependance on technology (like cell phones), social media, TV, or streaming.

There’s no requirement to give up anything for Lent. But some people do because they want to follow Jesus’s example of not allowing anything (even eating!) come between them and their relationship with God. People who choose to give something up for Lent often choose to fill that time with Bible reading, prayer, or just being silent before the Lord, to draw closer to him.

There are many ways to observe Lent. Here is a resource you might find helpful to walk you through some of those different ways. It was developed by Alyssa and Stephen Wood from Liberti River Wards Church in Philadelphia and is a Lent and Easter Guide for Families. You can click here to go to the page on the Liberti River Wards website where you can download the booklet as a pdf for free! (Just click on the link, go to the page, and then click the button that reads “Download Family Guide.”

Lent is a time to remember what Jesus has done for everyone who believes in him. But it’s also a time to be transformed as we practice repentance and drawing near to God!

Our sincere thanks to Liberti River Wards for sharing this resource!

What a Christian School Uniquely Provides

There are many communal options for K-12 education in and around Philadelphia: public schools, charter schools, secular private schools, faith-based private schools, and cyberschool options. But only one of these educational options focuses on the intangible quality of Christian character—Christian private schools.

In this day in age, Christian character is a quality that parents and guardians can’t afford to undervalue. As the students of today grow into the adults of tomorrow, they need to know how to meet the unique challenges of the day and respond to them from a Christ-like perspective. Christian K-12 schools are uniquely positioned to provide that kind of character-shaping.

Here are five ways that Christian schools in the Children’s Jubilee Fund Network prove themselves superior alternatives to all their secular counterparts when it comes to developing Christ-like character:

      1. Smaller student to teacher ratio. Jubilee Network schools have an average student-teacher ratio of 9:1, while Philadelphia Public Schools have a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. With fewer students per staff member, Jubilee Network schools allow teachers to spend more time with each student—getting to know them, their families, and the particular ways in which they wrestle to believe and live out the Gospel.
      1. “Discipleship” in a biblical sense means to train and build someone up in the ways of a teacher—particularly, Jesus Christ. Jesus says about discipleship in Luke 6:40: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” So, discipleship not only teaches doctrines and knowledge; it teaches and trains one to be like his teacher. Jubilee Network schools disciple students to not only think like Jesus, but to act and to love like him as well.
      1. Conflict resolution. Jubilee Network schools only accept sinners as students. One consequence of putting sinners together in the same place in the same time is that they experience conflict with one another. This would happen in any school—but what makes the difference in a Jubilee Network school is that teachers and staff have conflict resolution strategies set in place to not only deal with the behavior, but the underlying selfishness and unbelief that drives the outward behavior. Our schools’ conflict resolution strategies focus on cultivating hearts of forgiveness—because God in Christ has forgiven all of his children for their sins.
      1. Teaching God’s Word. The core curriculum of any Jubilee Network Christian school is God’s Word—Scripture. God’s Word shapes everything else taught during the year. And the more exposure we have to God’s Word and the more we receive it by faith, the more we’re transformed by it. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and [is] profitable for teaching, for reproof for correcting, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Jubilee Christian schools work to shape their students’ hearts and minds through exposing them continually to God’s Word.
      1. Jubilee Network schools are more than schools. They’re families. And families try to love one another. Teachers and other staff at our schools actively love their students and their students’ households. They help craft hearts of love among students to that students grow to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s counter-cultural to love other people, because our culture and our own sinful hearts tell us to love only ourselves. But we love one another because we have first been loved by God.

The students in Jubilee Network schools remain sinners even after they graduate. But as they learn about God’s love for them through Jesus Christ, and as they learn that God is faithful and always present with them, they grow in Christ-likeness. The process of inner transformation, what Paul calls “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding [that guards] your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” starts in the lives of these little ones. And by God’s grace, it never ends.

School Profile: Roxborough Christian School

I first became aware of Roxborough Christian School in 2015, not long after it opened. A friend of mine, Erik Larson, is a local pastor and one of the founders of the school. He also serves on the RCS Board. Erik described RCS to me as a school that employed a progressive, student-led learning model. The intent of this model is to meet the educational needs of each student, allowing the student to grow and deepen his or her specific competencies in a way that encouraged curiosity and exploration. That model intrigued me—and still does. The school has a close relationship with its host church, Leverington Presbyterian Church, on Ridge Avenue in the heart of Roxborough. Roxborough is one of those neighborhoods that retains all of the characteristics of an old-fashioned neighborhood—neighbors that know and care about one another, a close-knit community with houses that are also close together, and a bustling shopping district. Roxborough is on the ridge overlooking the Schuylkill River, and has some streets as narrow and as hilly as the streets with which I became familiar while living in Pittsburgh. It’s a community with charm, character, and charisma.

I spoke with Head of School Christina Platt about the school recently. Christina was a founding Board member and served on the RCS Board until she was selected to be Head of School in 2021. She has 18 years of experience in education both as a teacher in Kensington, and as a principal. She’s also a mom, and two of her children are enrolled in the school.

Christina shared that RCS’s progressive, student-led, faith-based learning model was one of the things that attracted her to the school. Academics are a high priority at RCS, but there is an equal focus on developing character.

Roxborough’s K-6 students are outside whenever they can be, and the school incorporates learning by walking around the school campus and the neighborhood. Students are given various responsibilities to build self-confidence, and to value who they are as image-bearers of God. One of the ways they do that is through serving on the Student Council. Another is through participating in RCS’s many special classes offerings: Spanish, gym, music, art, library,  dance, and chapel. RCS teachers and staff work with a small student-to-teacher ratio to ensure that students receive personalized attention and nurture.

Children’s Jubilee Fund is privileged to serve RCS through providing scholarships and no-cost tutoring through our TAMI program. To learn more about Roxborough Christian School, please visit their website at

Talking with Your Children about Sex, Sexuality, and Gender

American statesman Benjamin Franklin was quoted to say: “…in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Perhaps we could add to Franklin’s list the need to talk with children about sex, sexuality, and gender. The importance of “The Talk,” as it has become known, is more critical than ever in this day in age.

Parents and caregivers often fear “The Talk” (aka “The Birds and the Bees”). A big part of the reason behind that is that the ways in which we live out and express God’s good gifts of sex, sexuality, and gender are so broken by sin that we feel shame when we even talk about them (John 3:20). Everyone reading this post has either sinfully misused these aspects of their personhood or lives with the shameful legacy of the ways in which these gifts of sex, sexuality, and gender have distorted and misused over the course of human history. The result? We feel shame over something that God created as good and meant for human flourishing.

But God doesn’t want his people to continually experience shame regarding sex, sexuality, and gender. Through the work of the Holy Spirit changing the hearts and minds of God’s people, God is “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). That process is going on now—meaning that in this generation, God’s Spirit empowers his people to think and act differently, in conformity to his will and design for creation. In other words, you, as one who trusts in Jesus, have the ability to help your children understand God’s good intentions for sex, sexuality, and gender. You have the ability to help turn back some of the cultural contamination of these good gifts.

How? First, by trusting in the Lord to give you the courage and wisdom to explain these things to your children. But second, by actually teaching biblical sex, sexuality, and gender to your children.

If you email us at Children’s Jubilee Fund, we’ll be glad to send you the pdf of a short book entitled Helping Your Child Understand Sex, Sexuality and Gender. That book will give you a more in-depth idea of how to not only have “The Talk” with your child, but how to help your child establish lifelong patterns of accountability and repentance.

But here are a few ways from the final chapter of that book to get you started:

    1. Pray for your own heart. Pray that your son’s or daughter’s heart would be softened and that they would receive God’s truth and the earnest (though sometimes awkward) love of their parent.
    2. Pray for the courage to not only initiate the first installment of the conversation, but that you would be faithful to initiate installments throughout the process. You, as the parent, must take the lead in this. You must always be the one to ask the questions and keep the ball rolling. That isn’t easy, but God will grant you the self-control and courage to make it possible.
    3. Don’t be afraid of hearing your son or daughter say hard things about what they’ve seen, done or thought. It’s there already. Isn’t it better for the truth to come into the light rather that it remain in the dark? Your child’s sin or struggle doesn’t change who he or she is. Resist the temptation to view your child as “damaged goods.” Rather, pray for spiritual eyes to see this as an opportunity to lead your son or daughter in repentance, so that they would truly become the godly man or woman they were created to be.
    4. Set aside a day and time to sit down with your child. This is a serious conversation, so treat it as such. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Set aside enough time (One hour? Two?) to really dig down deeply.
    5. Ask questions. Don’t lecture. Always gather information from your child and then reflect back to them either observations or questions from what you hear. Reason with your son or daughter, to help them grapple with the primary question: Where does what I believe match or fail to agree with what God says?
    6. Don’t be afraid to dwell in certain places for long times. Perhaps one question or one point of doctrine will keep you engaged for a week or a month. God is patient with you. Pray for endurance to reflect that same patience to your son or daughter.
    7. Don’t be tempted to think that you need to be the one to convince your son or daughter of the truth. You are a messenger. The Holy Spirit is the one who, in the proper time, gives grace to believe and to change worldviews and behavior. You do your job, and allow him to do his.
    8. Don’t be afraid to be awkward. Perhaps you’ve never talked about these topics with anyone else. That’s not a reason to not move forward with your son or daughter. Trust that the Lord will be at work in the conversation even in the midst of your awkwardness, bringing results that you can’t even imagine. Don’t you think that your child will be impacted by your candor, your love, your patience, your willingness to talk about the hard things, the deep things of his or her heart? That impact might take a while to evidence itself—but your child will love and respect you more—and will love God more—as he or she sees you suffering in order to show them selfless love.
    9. Ask others to talk and pray with you. Don’t go this alone. Without betraying any confidences your child might share with you, ask your spouse and/or a trusted Christian friend to help you process what you’re hearing from your child, and how you’re responding to it. The Lord wants to use this process not only to grow your child’s faith and spiritual maturity, but your own, as well.
    10. Model in your own life the very accountability you’re pursuing with your son or daughter. Do so with your spouse, and with a trusted same-sex friend. Learn how to counsel and lead your son or daughter as you live out the very transparency, vulnerability and trust that you encourage in them.

Again, if you’d like a pdf of the entire book, please email us and we’ll be glad to send it to you.

Helping Children Learn to Pray

A sentiment common among many of the Christian adults I encounter is: “I don’t pray enough.”

That’s probably true—not just for those brave enough to admit it, but for us all. The Apostle Paul exhorts us to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. And we know that Jesus prayed frequently, often by himself.

But why? What is prayer? What does prayer accomplish? And what is its purpose in the lives of God’s people?

What Prayer Is
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, I was taught to pray when I needed something from God. And making requests from God is a valid reason for prayer. But it isn’t the only one. Praying “without ceasing” implies that there is more to prayer than simply asking God to respond in various ways. After all, there’s more to life than asking for help.

One writer states it as plainly as possible: prayer is simply talking with God. That talking may take many forms, including many with which you might already be familiar:
praising God for who he is and all of his virtues (“Adoration”);

    • confessing our sin to him and asking forgiveness in Jesus’ Name (“Confession”);
    • thanking God for the countless kind, loving, and sovereign ways in which he interacts with us and with all his creation (“Thanksgiving’); and
    • asking God to intercede in our lives, the lives of those we know and love, and in the affairs of all the world (“Supplication”).

These four types of prayer form the familiar acronym ACTS, taken from the first letters of the words in parentheses above. Together, they form a relatively well-rounded cycle of prayer which is roughly reflected in the model prayer given to us by Jesus, that known as The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).

But that isn’t the full extent of what prayer is. If prayer is talking with God, then prayer is a conversation. Dr. Paul Miller says in his book A Praying Life that just as in any conversation, we should expect to be spoken to, not simply to be heard.

God often has things for us to hear from him in prayer. Sometimes, his voice comes to us as a small, inaudible voice in our hearts, convincing us of something we need to do, or believe. Sometimes, that voice affirms his love for us. Other times, the Holy Spirit writes his Word (Scripture) on our hearts—making Scripture that we heard or read recently take particular root in us, or opening us up to understand it in a particularly meaningful way. Still other times, God may speak to us not necessarily during those quiet prayer times themselves, but through the words and actions of others, or through the circumstances we experience.

No matter the form of prayer, we should expect God to speak with us, even as we speak with him.

What Prayer Accomplishes
This notion of “prayer as conversation” accomplishes many things. One, God moves through our prayer to exercise his will in our lives and in the world around us. He allows us to ask for good things which are part of his will for us and for the rest of his creation. As one writer puts it, “Prayer is the act of asking God to do what he has already promised to do.”  This might include changing our hearts and circumstances, but also working to bring other people to faith, to heal them physically or spiritually, or even to change the course of world events.

Prayer’s Purpose for God’s People
More than that, prayer encourages us. The same way that we are encouraged by sitting down and talking with a loved one or a trusted friend, prayer is meant to strengthen our spirits and refresh our hearts. We express our thoughts and emotions, and know that we are heard. We listen, and know and hear the other person. The relationship becomes stronger.

Through prayer, our faith in God grows. Through prayer, our experience of being loved and cherished by God grows as well. As God’s people, we become more certain of God’s love and his presence in our lives.

Helping Children Learn to Pray
I started by mentioning that many adults (myself included) feel like we struggle with prayer. If prayer is difficult for us adults, how much more challenging it is for children, who lack the capacity to think abstractly. But there are simple things we can do to help them. Here are a few ideas.

    1. Talk about your own experience of prayer with your child. This gives your child a model for prayer in his or her own life. Explain in simple terms what prayer is, how you pray, and how you know that God listens to you and speaks to you through prayer.
    2. Pray aloud over your child. Pray simple prayers out loud while you’re holding your child, sitting with them, or when you know that they need encouragement or help from the Lord. Listening to you pray for them can establish a pattern for your child to go to the Lord on their own and pray, sometimes even using the same words you use to pray for them.
    3. Pray simple prayers with your child. Pick particular times of the day (waking up, going to sleep, before meals, etc.) to pray. You start, and your child can finish the prayer. The Christian organization Focus on the Family offers some creative ways to pray with your child in this article.
    4. Read Scripture or Scripture stories to your child. Reading God’s Word with your child and then talking about ways to pray for the things God promises in his Word can stimulate the desire to pray in your child. Read to younger children from a children’s storybook Bible or from a book of Bible stories. Before you start reading and at the end, pray a brief prayer of thanks to God for his Word and pray that you and your child would have the faith to believe his promises.

Helping your child learn to pray is one of the most important gifts a parent or caregiver can give to his or her child. You’ll be helping to establish not only a skill that your child will use his or her entire life, but you’ll help your child grow in relationship with their Heavenly Father.

Talking with Kids about Gun Violence

Pop-pop-pop-pop. The unmistakable sound of gunshots. We thought them concerning, but more of a nuisance as they broke the silence in our Olney neighborhood 20 years ago. Back then, we might have heard them a block or more away from Fisher Park, which was notorious for drug deals. And, we only heard them about once a month, on average. Today, the situation in Philadelphia has changed. Dramatically. Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the country, yet this year it has seen more shootings than much larger cities—including New York and Los Angeles. And 2022 is turning out to be the deadliest year ever for gun violence in the City of Brotherly Love. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the summer of 2022 saw nearly eight people shot every day. That’s a rate of more than twice that of just five years ago. And, more women and children were shot this summer than ever before. But the victims of gun violence aren’t just the ones who get shot. According to the same Inquirer article, During a single weekend this August, in three separate shootings across the city, children watched their parents getting shot. More than that, children can live with the paralyzing fear that they, or their loved ones, will become victims of gun violence. For students who receive scholarships from Children’s Jubilee Fund, the reality of gun violence hits very close to home. Not only do most of our students live in neighborhoods where gun violence is rampant, but many of our students have lost family members to gun violence. Some of our students have lost siblings, friends, and parents to gun violence. And like the children mentioned in the Inquirer article mentioned above, several of our students have witnessed their own parents being shot. It’s traumatic enough for adults to witness shootings. But children lack the social and emotional resources that adults have. For children who witness gun violence or even simply live in fear of gun violence, the effects can be profound and lifelong. So how can parents, teachers, older siblings, and caregivers talk with children about their fears concerning gun violence? Here are a few ideas.
  1. Open up the conversation. Ask children leading questions about their perceptions, ideas, and fears concerning gun violence. Ask them what they’ve seen, what they’ve heard, and how they’re afraid they might be impacted. Don’t shut them down, minimize their fears, or offer easy answers. Engage in meaningful conversation with them and allow them to bring their fears into the light.
  2. Give them permission to be afraid. Violence is something that is legitimately scary. And, the seeming randomness and lack of warning surrounding gun violence can be particularly scary for a child. Talk with them about the reality of violence. But help them see that the very worst things that might happen usually don’t
  3. Help them discover alternate behaviors to deal with their fears. Ask your child what some things are that they can do when they feel anxious or afraid in order to feel less at risk. Some good ideas are to pray, remember a Bible verse, silently sing a song that reminds them about God’s love, or to write down in a journal one truth to counteract each fear or anxious thought that surfaces. You can also help them to learn some deep breathing exercises to slow their heart rate and help them feel less anxious.
  4. Reassure them they’re not alone. As an adult or older sibling, reassure your child that they don’t have to face life and all of their inner fears alone. Identify yourself, and other trustworthy and mature individuals around them as safe people to whom they can come when they feel afraid. Tell them that you can help them talk about the things around them and the things inside them that feel unsafe.
  5. Point them to God. Bigger human beings can help protect smaller human beings. But we can’t protect them from everything. There is someone who can, though—God. Help your child understand that God is always with him or her, and can help protect your child’s body and their thoughts. When your child feels anxious, remembering that God is good and that God loves them and takes care of them can help him/her feel calmer and safer. Julie Lowe is a Christian counselor who specializes working with children. She has some especially good strategies for doing this in this video and in this short book.
Gun violence is a big issue, and it seems to be getting bigger. But there are ways to help our smallest ones take control of their thoughts and find peace and hope in the Lord and in the presence of his people. Click here for a list of community resources available to help children and adults who have experienced gun violence

The Results Are In: Christian Education Pays Off!

Our work at Children’s Jubilee Fund has always been very focused. We provide tuition-assistance scholarships which enable low-income Philadelphia-area students to attend the K-12 Christian schools in our network. And we take the Christian school aspect of our mission seriously.

Why? Two reasons. First, we want our students to intentionally encounter Jesus.  We want them to get to know him and his people through being in our Christian schools. And as they get to know and build relationship with Jesus, they also get to experience the world through a Christian worldview—understanding creation, people, society, work, and relationships all through a distinctly Christian lens.

And second, we know that the education that our students receive in our network schools is typically a better quality education than they would receive in the public schools they’d otherwise attend. Because our network Christian school teachers and staff serve out of a sense of mission and love for their students, they offer intangible benefits that many public schools aren’t able to consistently provide.

What are those intangible benefits? Things like conflict resolution that moves toward repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. An understanding and compassionate ear from teachers and staff when a student is discouraged. Extra, one-on-one assistance when a student needs help understanding a particular academic concept or skill. Encouragement to seek and rest in the Lord when hard things in life happen.

And prayer. Prayer throughout the school day, and prayer when hard things happen in or out of school.

We’ve seen the results since Jubilee began 25 years ago: 95% of Jubilee scholars graduate from high school (compared with 69% for Philadelphia public school students), and 90% of twelfth-grade Jubilee scholars enroll in post-secondary education (nearly half of Philadelphia public high schools have college enrollment rates lower than 60%).

But that isn’t the end of the story. This week, a New York Times opinion piece quantified the benefits of Christian faith to helping students succeed in school. A researcher from Tulane University looked at 3,290 American teens and their academic journeys. The results in this article are encouraging—students with a Christian faith typically had better grades in high school, and were more likely to complete high school and move on to college than their unbelieving peers.

These are the kinds of benefits we see in our network Christian schools, only we believe our results are even better than those reported in the Times piece.

Our ability to help Philadelphia-area students depends on the generosity of people who believe in our mission and are willing to support it through their financial gifts and prayer. Would you consider supporting Jubilee today and making a difference in a child’s life forever? Thank you!

Talking with Children About Jesus

What do children need in order to thrive? There are so many answers to that question: Unconditional love. Safety and security. Opportunities to explore their God-given gifts. The stable and faithful care of parents, grandparents, or other caregivers who will nurture them and show them how to live. Friends. Someone who will help them build good self-esteem. Learning to exercise self-control. Someone who will help them learn to live primarily for others, rather than only for themselves.

All of these good gifts are indeed necessary. But there is one thing more, without which no child can truly and deeply thrive. One thing of paramount importance. That thing is to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why? It boils down to this: every person on earth was made for relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. Jesus says: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Without that relationship, nothing in life develops as it was designed to be. Nothing matters. It’s as though a talented artist created a beautiful masterpiece, and then locked it away in a closet for no one to enjoy.

Notice that I speak here of a relationship with Jesus. The word relationship is key. To have a relationship with someone is very different from simply knowing facts about that person. I know many facts about my wife. But those facts alone do nothing to help me or to bless her. If I don’t have relationship with my wife, those facts are meaningless.

To have relationship with Jesus is not only to know about him, but it is to know him. To experience his love, to feel the comfort of his presence, to know the faithfulness of his care, to rest in the finality of his work for us on the cross. Jesus is a living person who knows us and wants us to know him.

What are some things you can do to help your child develop a relationship with Jesus? ere Here are a few simple ways to begin.

  1. Teach your child about Jesus. Yes, I did say a moment ago that simply knowing facts about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. But how else do you help start a relationship between two people, except to introduce them? Learning about Jesus is the first step in growing in relationship with him. You can do this through reading Scripture with your child. Begin in an age-appropriate way. For older children, you can read with them directly from the Bible. But for younger children, it might be easier to use a children’s Bible or a Bible storybook. Links to some suggested resources may be found below.
  2. Talk with your child about your own relationship with Jesus. Most children learn anecdotally, through example. Regardless of the depth of your own relationship with Jesus, give real-life examples of how you know Jesus loves you. Talk about how Jesus has answered your prayers. Talk about how you know God has forgiven your sin because Jesus died on the cross in your place. Even if you feel you don’t have much first-hand experience, trust that the Lord will not only use you to help your child know about Jesus, but that the Lord will grow your own with him as you do it.
  3. Pray for your child. You have a sacred privilege as a parent, grandparent, guardian, or caregiver to intercede on behalf of your child. Ask the Lord to give your child faith to believe in Jesus. Pray that you would be a good example of a faithful Christian for your child. Pray that the Holy Spirit would protect your child from Satan’s influence and deception. Pray that the Spirit would give your child a tender heart, and that he or she would recognize that they are a sinner in need of God’s grace.
  4. Pray with your child. Praying with your child is not only a way to bond with your child and help them to bond to Jesus, but a way to teach them how to pray themselves. The prayers don’t need to be long, but sometimes having regular times to pray during the day is helpful. Some parents pray with their children in the morning, around mealtimes, and before bed. And praying with your child when difficult things happen—like disappointments, temper tantrums, or fights—is a good way to teach your child to turn to the Lord. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is a prayer all by itself, as well as a good basis for many other prayers. If you’d like some additional ideas about ways to pray with your child, a short list of resources follows at the end of this article.
  5. Bring your child to church and Sunday school. God’s people aren’t just a bunch of individuals; they are a community. Jesus established this community (called the church) as a way to make his character and work known to the world, and for the benefit of all of the members of the church. Many churches have Sunday schools that help children not only learn about Jesus, but where children can develop relationships with peers and where parents can develop relationships with other adults. Going to church isn’t meant to be a legalistic thing. It’s actually a gift from the Lord, which enables us to grow in faith and in love with God and with one another.

This article only scratches the surface concerning talking with your children about Jesus. But it’s a start. If you’d like some more ideas, talk with a trusted Christian friend, your pastor, or one of the teachers or administrators at one of the Jubilee network Schools. And check back to this blog for more articles on helping your child learn about Jesus.


Children’s Bibles and Bible Storybooks


Prayer Books for Children

Tim Geiger (M.Div.) is Executive Director of Children's Jubilee Fund. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Tim has lived in or around the city most of his life. His undergraduate studies done at the Community College of Philadelphia, Tim went on to earn a Master of Divinity Degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is ordained as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. Prior to serving at Children's Jubilee Fund, Tim worked for the Internal Revenue Service, The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and Harvest USA, where he also served as Executive Director and then President from 2012-2019. Tim lives with his wife and daughter just outside of Philadelphia.

Children's Jubilee Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1997 to provide tuition grants to Christian schools in the Philadelphia metro area that serve lower-income students. These grants are then awarded by the schools as scholarships to students who meet income and residency guidelines. Each year, Jubilee provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants that, in turn, help hundreds of students in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, and Camden Counties achieve their God-given academic and personal potential. Children's Jubilee Fund is an entirely donor-supported organization.

Ways to Pray for Children’s Jubilee Fund – July 2021

Even though school may be out for the summer, our schools, their staffs, and our students have different prayer needs over the coming weeks. Here are a few ways you might pray for them.

1.  Several of our schools have summer programs meant to benefit both their students and other children from the community. Here are three in particular to pray for:

2.  Many of our schools typically depend on last-minute summer enrollments to meet their student population goals for the fall. Because of the pandemic, this is an unusual year, though, and many schools need to enroll additional students because of higher-than-anticipated attrition. Please pray that the Lord would put our schools in contact with exactly the families whose students he wants enrolled for the fall. In particular, please pray for:

  • Olney Christian School (Olney) to find seven more kindergarten and five more first-grade students for the fall
  • Cedar Grove Christian Academy (Lawndale) to find more students to fill out their new ninth-grade class (previously, Cedar Grove was a K-8 school).


3.  Several of our schools are looking for additional staff members before the start of the new school year. Please pray the Lord would provide them with the right candidates at the right time. You can find a list of job announcements on our website.

4.  Many of our students live in communities that have been impacted by gun violence. Pray that the Lord would pour out his grace upon our neighborhoods, and that he would curtail that violence and protect our students and their families.

Tim Geiger (M.Div.) is Executive Director of Children's Jubilee Fund. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Tim has lived in or around the city most of his life. His undergraduate studies done at the Community College of Philadelphia, Tim went on to earn a Master of Divinity Degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is ordained as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. Prior to serving at Children's Jubilee Fund, Tim worked for the Internal Revenue Service, The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and Harvest USA, where he also served as Executive Director and then President from 2012-2019. Tim lives with his wife and daughter just outside of Philadelphia.

Children's Jubilee Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1997 to provide tuition grants to Christian schools in the Philadelphia metro area that serve lower-income students. These grants are then awarded by the schools as scholarships to students who meet income and residency guidelines. Each year, Jubilee provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants that, in turn, help hundreds of students in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, and Camden Counties achieve their God-given academic and personal potential. Children's Jubilee Fund is an entirely donor-supported organization.