The church I serve, the First Presbyterian Church in Beaver, PA, has had a long standing relationship with an inner city ministry in Bucharest, Romania. The neighborhood we target had a long, dark history of poverty, crime and broken families. But there we discovered a remarkable ministry, the Philip House, that walked with children from preschool through to college, helping to lift them out of poverty and empower them in countless ways. We have seen the neighborhood, and peoples’ lives, change in dramatic fashion, and have been able to be part of what happens there in significant ways.

I think of that ministry when I see ministries in action like Beaver County’s own Aliquippa Impact (AI). AI began its ministry in 2005, the vision of founder Joel Repic and some partners. AI began with a summer day camp program, but the ministry has grown to include school-based and community-based Mentoring and an After School Program.

AI focuses on deep and intentional relationships. Joel Repic asserts, “We like to say that 90% of what we do is show up. Every time we show up in the life of a kid, we are protesting the hopelessness they feel and letting them know someone does care and notice.”


Most of the AI staff live in the city, and thus are neighbors and friends to those they visit and mentor. They focus on building cohort based learning environments, so they form groups of 8-10 young people. These cohorts remain together through elementary, junior high and high school, and beyond.

During their time in a cohort, young people receive support, encouragement, mentorship, and crisis response from the AI staff.  Each young person in a cohort sets three individual goals per year, and the AI staff provides them with the support needed to reach these goals.  Furthermore, each cohort participant takes part in AI’s After-School Program.


Aliquippa Impact is a ministry that exudes hope for children. Repic states that “Hope is an incredible motivator. If someone no longer feels like they hope for their future, they will immediately become destructive – to themselves and others. Many of our young people experience a profound sense of hopelessness. We simply don’t believe in hopeless people or in hopeless communities. God expands our imaginations to see new possibilities for the kids we serve. Our job is to call out those new possibilities and encourage young people in them.”


Stories like Aliquippa Impact need to be told, and opportunity given, for participation beyond Aliquippa’s borders. They have significant waiting lists of children who wish to be mentored, but not enough volunteers, staff and resources have been available. Might you be a partner with them?

In April and May they are launching an outreach to go even further. The HAVE A HAND IN HOPE campaign’s purpose is to expand both the quality and the quantity of their mission.

They seek, through raising additional funds, to accomplish three goals: First, to add at least one more cohort of children to their program. Again, think about the difference a 12-14 year commitment can make in the life of each youngster. Second, they wish to add a third night to their After-School Program. And third, they will be hiring a teacher to implement a classically-based rhetoric curriculum at their after-school program.  This means their program will move beyond homework help to educational supplementation.

If you wish to know more, to volunteer and/or to give, you may visit aliquippaimpact.org.

Pastor Jeff Arnold
Jeff Arnold is the senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Beaver, PA. He lives with his wife Karen in Beaver, PA. They have three grown children.

First Presbyterian Church is an Evangelical Presbyterian Church located in Beaver, PA. They have four worship services on campus, two that are more traditional and two that are more blended contemporary. They have active ministries for all ages, and have a strong mission emphasis.