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Why I Give

Daphne Anthos

From the moment I walked into my first Middle School FOCUS Friday in New York City’s St. Thomas Choir School (as a terribly awkward 6th grader), I felt acceptance, love, friendship, and God’s grace pour out from the leaders and students. Throughout middle and high school, FOCUS continued to have a major impact on my faith and challenged me to own that faith. FOCUS provided me with many mentors and friends around the country who, even to this day, continue to ask the tough questions when I need to hear them – but with whom I’ve also shared many laughs over the years. I give monthly, because I support the mission of FOCUS and their staff. I want every student to know who God is and that they are loved and accepted by Him.

Drake & Sarah (Bush) Richey

We often say we wouldn’t have made it through high school without FOCUS. Our lives at a New England boarding school (where we first met – at a FOCUS meeting!) were busy, intense, and socially volatile; but the Christian message we heard through FOCUS was always the same. Whether through the encouraging words of a staff member over coffee or at an intellectual Bible study on campus, FOCUS reinforced our faith in the gospel. It provided a place for us to thrive – where we knew we were loved regardless of grades or athletic ability, where we formed some of our best friendships, and where we had a ridiculous amount of fun while learning about a God who loves us. We give to FOCUS because it is so important for students in independent schools to have that place to grow and explore their faith, and we want it to be there for our kids too!

Kelley Shepherd

FOCUS brought a consistent message of joy and peace to the ups and downs, anxiety and excitement of life at a boarding school. It was also a source of new friendships and deeper relationships at my own school. Both the message and the relationships are things I still cherish daily. I give each month to support FOCUS staff who continue to bring joy, peace, and deep relationships to independent school students – even now that my own boarding school days are just a memory.

Rip Friddell

The FOCUS meetings at my all-male preparatory school offered some relief from the daily stresses that accompanied a typical school day. Looking back, I also realize my FOCUS leaders were providing a positive atmosphere that was conducive to friendships among guys that held a common Christian faith, in an otherwise competitive environment. I give to FOCUS because of the important impact its leaders had on my life (as mentors and friends) and on other students around me, as we explored our faith together. FOCUS set a strong foundation for friendships that I still have today, and it is an honor to give back to a fellowship that has given so much to me.

Blakeley Sisk

I give to FOCUS because it is the place I learned the most about having a relationship with Jesus – and that faith is more than just knowledge. During high school, I found friends who understood and wanted to learn more about Christ and growing deeper in their faith. These friendships carried me through different stages of life that were both challenging and joyful – and always pointed me toward love, grace, and truth. Giving to FOCUS allows me to stay connected with a mission I believe in and know is impacting hundreds of lives.

Lauren Kasper

I give to FOCUS because it was the most impactful organization I was involved in growing up. From dedicated leaders, to life-changing messages about faith, to lifelong friends from summer programs and ski week – FOCUS impacted every aspect of my life during my very formative years. I give to FOCUS because I want all middle and high school students to have access to the same personal and spiritual growth and encouragement I experienced.

Peter Griffin

The best opportunity for Christian fellowship at my boarding school was the weekly FOCUS meeting. There I engaged in weekly Bible studies and fellowship that helped me grow in my faith and develop close friendships with other Christians on campus. I also enjoyed conversations about faith with students who had never encountered Christ. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I realized how committed the FOCUS staff was – our meetings started at 9 PM on Friday nights! I give to FOCUS because I clearly see the tremendous positive impact that FOCUS had – not only on students who attended the meetings, but on the culture at my boarding school as a whole. I am passionate about supporting FOCUS in its efforts to serve so many independent schools and to expand to new schools and regions.

Chaney (Shafferman) Widmer

Why do I give to FOCUS? There are so many reasons! FOCUS was the place where the gospel truly came to life for me and I learned the value of Christian community – first through summer programs as a student, then later through my local gatherings in the Greater Washington Area. I was "hooked" from my very first encounter because of the unique way this ministry is gifted to reach students in the often rigorous and very busy independent school environment. God used the local staff, volunteers, and other FOCUS students as instrumental supports for me during those "pressure-cooker" high school years. Many of my dearest friends to this day (nearly 20 years after my first summer program) are ones I made through FOCUS as a student. And best of all, it’s where I met my husband. Because of all these things, and so much more, I'm committed to seeing this ministry continue to thrive for many years to come. Please join me in giving to FOCUS!

Gretchen (Presnell) Hyde

I give to FOCUS because of the impact it has had on my own faith, as well as the ways in which I believe God is using it to reach students today. FOCUS was an important part of my faith journey in high school and college. God used this ministry and its leaders to grow me, and I want to help provide that same opportunity for other students now that I am working. Additionally, I believe and support what FOCUS is and what it stands for. I love that it encourages students to ask questions and personally explore the Christian faith in a way that allows them to make it their own.

I know that no matter how small the amount, my gift can make a difference to help draw students closer to God; and I trust that FOCUS is stewarding my donation in ways that can make a great impact for God's glory.

David Drewry

FOCUS is an incredible organization that creates Christ-centered communities that point students toward the teachings of Jesus. While I am not an alumnus of FOCUS, I was hooked the minute I set foot at the Study Center to volunteer for a summer program after graduating from college. I am constantly blown away by the caring nature of staff and volunteers who come alongside students in both times of need and plenty. Volunteering for FOCUS at multiple levels has deepened my love of Jesus and allowed me to build long-lasting friendships with students, volunteers, and staff. I continue to give to FOCUS to enable staff members to minister to these independent school students.