Thousands of students from 25 colleges throughout the southeast contributed more than $21,000 to help provide waiting orphans with forever families through Show Hope™ adoption grants. In the process, more than 67,000 students were exposed to Show Hope’s Red Bus Project this spring in the newly launched orphan care program featuring a British double-decker-bus-turned-rolling-thrift-store.
Show Hope is a movement to care for orphans founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth, and this nonprofit organization created the Red Bus Project to engage college students to actively care in an ongoing way for the millions of orphans around the world.
This past spring, the unique initiative gave students an opportunity to give and buy clothes on the red double-decker bus to raise funds to help orphans find forever families. Stationed for a day in high traffic areas at various college campuses throughout Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama, the Red Bus Project saw visitors of all ages visit the bus and buy and donate clothes, all the while helping orphans around the world.
“We knew students would respond, but to buy over twenty grand of clothes was amazing,” said Chris Wheeler, Show Hope’s Director of Student Initiatives, responsible for overseeing the Red Bus Project.
In the evening, an outdoor concert featuring the Franklin, Tennessee indie band CALEB, attracted crowds that were directed to the bus for shopping after the concert. Lead singer Caleb Chapman (son of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman) played an instrumental role in creating the Red Bus Project. “I’m so excited to see the Red Bus Project happening. To see hundreds of college students getting pumped about helping orphans is a dream come true.”
Ensuring that students continue to be engaged in orphan care activities after the on-campus event is at the heart of a robust post-tour student engagement strategy. More than 5,000 students who signed-up will receive regular action updates through social media and email. In addition, Red Bus Project student leadership teams have been established on 28 campuses to provide on-campus leadership.
“Our goal is not to just swoop on to a campus, have a fun event, then leave and never be heard from again,” comments Wheeler. “We have a very intentional strategy in place to move students progressively towards deeper and deeper engagement in a lifestyle of orphan care. We are asking them ‘What is your Red Bus?’ – a metaphor for specific actions they will take to help the plight of the orphan.”
“We’ve been thrilled by the response so far,” said Scott Hasenbalg, Executive Director of Show Hope. “Students appreciate an ‘out of the box’ way of helping care for orphans.”