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Relationships matter – and a growing body of research continues to reveal just how important they are to overall wellbeing. For one local family, that sense of belonging and community was found at New Braunfels Christian Ministries’ Kids Club.

Delicia Carrasco and her family’s journey began at Kids Club nearly eight years ago. At the time, she said her son Christopher was in first grade and was facing challenges with reading. That’s when his teacher recommended him to Kids Club.

Kids Club is an after-school program for 1st-5th grade students where staff and volunteers help them grow academically, expand life skills and develop Godly character.

“Since the beginning, Christopher got a lot of help. Kids Club offers many resources that have actually helped and benefited our family,” Carrasco said.

Carrasco said Kids Club went beyond providing academic support and responded to Christopher’s emotional needs by connecting them to a counselor when their family was walking through a divorce.

“Kids Club became our family with Christopher. It helped shape him up in a Christian, positive way,” Carrasco said.

Fast forward a couple years, Christopher graduated from Kids Club, Carrasco’s younger son Chase is a part of the program and she even joined the Kids Club staff.

Through Kids Club’s spiritual enrichment element, Carrasco said it helped build Chase’s foundation of faith. That faith combined with caring relationships with staff helped support him through a season of loss.

“The staff was real supportive and made sure that even though I was employed here, that they checked on him,” Carrasco said.

During his four years at Kids Club, Carrasco shared that Chase is doing better in school and the investments of staff and volunteers have become evident in his attitude and social interactions.

Not only has Kids Club walked alongside her family over the years, she said it has also provided her an avenue to give back.

She said since some Kids Club families face similar challenges to what her family has experienced, it gives her a unique ability to relate to them.

“It’s just been a blessing to help those kids, even if it’s twice a week. It’s just that little seed that we plant for them that knows they do have a friend,” she said.

Carrasco said she has even seen that seed begin to bear fruit with her own son, Christopher. In fact, he has expressed a desire to begin volunteering at Kids Club in the future.

“Ever since [applying for this job], my family and my heart have grown so much. It’s not staff, it’s family. It is not a job, it’s a serving opportunity, and that’s how I see Kids Club. I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Carrasco said.