Terry Ann and Jay Kelly live in Grapevine, Texas and have 5 incredible kids! They started their parenting journey determined to educate all of them in Christian school because, at that time, they felt it was the best way for us to ensure that our number one parenting goal would be accomplished: That Katelin, Clay, Colt, Clint and Chad would one day leave there home knowing they are deeply loved by their parents and their God no matter the choices they make, realizing God’s plan for their life is incredible and desiring to live their lives according to His Word, filled with His Spirit!
And so they began the Christian School experience and it was great! After a few years, however, Jay felt for their family, it would be better to move all 5 to public school. It wasn’t a change Terry Ann was ready for, so she went along “kicking and screaming” …a little and “praying and crying”…a lot!
Their middle son, Colt, made the public school move in the 5th grade—the last year of elementary school in their district and they only knew a few boys in the whole grade through community sports. She remembers thinking, “5th grade is one thing, but there is no way that I am going to send our naïve, sheltered, soon to be 6th grade son into , what was in my mind a scary place…public middle school!” And she prayed some more! In the midst of her worry (how she wished she could say her faith was so strong that “worry” was not a word in her vocabulary), a little idea came into her mind and heart: So Colt, won’t feel totally alone in his faith and convictions, why not take the school directory and invite all of the fifth graders from his school, (yes, all 112 of them), to our home for a party! But not just any party!
It would be filled with fun, food, and even a free t-shirt, but more importantly, she would talk to them about the new, exciting and sometimes scary challenges they would face as they moved into middle school. She would encourage them that they could approach this new time in life with confidence, not having to give into negative peer pressure, if only they would commit themselves to living their lives to honor their parents and our Lord Jesus Christ! She wanted them to know that there may not be many, but that there were at least a few students in that group of 112 that were being taught the same values in their own homes and churches!
Party Planning began to take form in her mind, but she only knew one mom who she thought might help her. She had met her at a garage sale where she learned she went to church! That was good enough for her! She loved the idea and recruited a few others and the “party” idea spread via the grapevine. It dawned on her: Catholic & Protestant parents want the same thing. We all want our kids’ faith to be so personal that it affects the way they live. We want our kids to not only have beliefs but we want them to have the conviction to live those beliefs out in their everyday life, affecting the choices they make!
The S3 logo came to her mind and was drawn on a coffee shop napkin (with a teacher friend adding the “3”). The theme verse of I Corinthians 15:58 popped off the page of her Bible. A home-made, computer generated invitation, was created and mailed and 75 students along with parents and siblings showed up on party day—somewhere between 200 and 250 people in all. From that simple party, S3 has grown into an organization that has a program designed to encourage students through their senior year in high school!
So, here is the bottom line:
A mom with only a desire to raise a boy with a heart for God combined with a simple God-breathed party idea plus an obedience to God’s leading has become an organization designed to help you, a mom or dad with a desire to raise a boy or girl with a heart for God, plan a simple party or start a student-led club in obedience to God’s leading so your student knows they are not alone in their faith and that even when many are not, they can live for Christ!