Dozens of children line the sidewalk in front of Mission Bend United Methodist Church, holding streamers and awaiting the arrival of a very special guest. In a moment, excited squeals ring out from the group as they hear the roar of 14 motorcycles rolling down the road toward the entrance of the church.
The Deacons of Deadwood, a motorcycle group that prides themselves on being the most well-respected motorcycle group in Houston, has come to present Mission Bend Christian Academy with a sizable check to benefit a fund that will help give more students the chance to attend the school.
“On Friday, February 6, the group showed up on their motorcycles in their motorcycle garb, sporting their jackets that said Deacons of Deadwood across the back,” said Jennifer Craft, who is Head of School at MBCA. “All the students were allowed to sit on a motorcycle and get their picture taken and talk to the gentlemen. They had a blast. We had a blast. It was wonderful.”
It was at that time that the group presented the school with a donation that will benefit the school’s Tree of Life Scholarship Fund.
“The [scholarship fund] was started about 10 years ago when some business leaders in the community looked at the school and wanted to work out a way to support our school,” Craft said. “A lot of our families need financial assistance. So, these business men created this fund on behalf of the school and approach different businesses to support this fund.”
Because the fund has been kept up over the years, the school can provide financial assistance to many of its students.
“The amount given by the Deacons of Deadwood will help to fund up to six students next year,” Craft said.
The academy is just one of 13 beneficiaries who receive funds from the organization who has given over $1 million since they began in 2002.
Craft first became aware of the group when she met one of its members at a function she attended. The two began to talk about the Tree of Life Scholarship Fund, and the man told Craft that she could apply for a grant through the Deacons of Deadwood.
“The organization wanted to give back to the community, so they became a 501 (c) 3 non-profit with the ability to give grants,” Craft said. “They do a large auction charity event each year. All of the proceeds of that go to children and youth activities across the area.”
Although this is the first year MBCA has applied and received a grant from the Deacons of Deadwood, Craft said the school will now apply annually to be a beneficiary of the generous organization.
“We were so excited to be one of their recipients this year,” she said.
Craft hopes to use donations from organizations like the Deacons of Deadwood to eventually support 50 percent of the school on financial assistance.
“Right now, we support about 25 to 35 percent of our school,” she said. “In the future we hope to reach out to other families who, because of financial reasons, might not be able to attend the school. Therefore, our school will grow and we will reap the benefits of the gifts that every family brings to the school.”
The Head of School said creating a sense of belonging for those in every socio-economic situation is as important to MBCA as math and reading.
“We usually have around 100 students enrolled at one time,” Craft said. “We’re not huge, but we’re growing. We feel very much like family here. That’s the word that we hear from all of our parents and people that come in. They tell us how comfortable it feels here and how much they feel like they’re part of a family.”