MFA, Project Transformation Celebrate First Year Program Success

I am so excited to share with you the amazing work that MFA grant recipient, Project Transformation is doing in Arkansas. It just completed its inaugural year of camp serving over 55 children in the Pine Bluff area.

How did Project Transformation get started here in Arkansas? I’m glad you asked. It was founded in Dallas in 1998 and has grown to serve nine different Annual Conferences. It provides two key services in its communities. The first one is leadership development and vocational exploration opportunities for college-age young adults through paid internships. The second is to provide community-oriented summer programs for children focused on literacy and social-emotional health.

Project Transformation Arkansas (PT Arkansas) was established through the Arkansas Conference’s Culture of Calling, which focuses on the recruitment and retention of clergy. To further support PT Arkansas, they partnered with the 200K More Reasons Initiative, which works to end childhood hunger in the state of Arkansas. Rev. Sam Meadors, Executive Director, noticed that there were food insecurities in the area, particularly with local children. Additionally, young adults were leaving the church and the churches didn’t really look like their communities. Not only does PT Arkansas address all of those areas, but has already had an amazing impact on the delta region.

This summer’s program lasted 7 ½ weeks and hosted over 55 children for four days each week. These children were given breakfast and lunch (that’s over 1,800 meals being served!), and had each day filled with activities, with a large part of those being focused on literacy. The camps were hosted by two local United Methodist churches, St. Luke and Lakeside. However, there were members from seven churches who read one on one with the children and dozens who provided meals and support. So, it truly was a community endeavor bringing together the churches and those in the community. And a quick note about PT Arkansas’ focus on literacy for the campers…84% of the children who attended either maintained or increased their literacy skills.

At the end of the summer, they held a carnival-themed celebration at Lakeside UMC for everyone who was involved with the program along with their families. Not only was this a celebration for the end of camp, but an opportunity for these families to start making a connection and relationship with the church. “This first summer would not have been possible without the support of the Foundation,” Meadors said.

Project Transformation is something near and dear to the heart of Rev. Meadors. She was introduced to the program and participated as a student intern when she was in college. At this time in her life, she was not considering the ministry but realized that there was ministry beyond the pulpit and started thinking about her calling which ultimately led to her becoming a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. She experienced firsthand the impact this program had not only on the children being served, but on the young adults who might be considering to leave the church altogether.

This year, PT Arkansas’ interns consisted of six young adults from six different colleges. Half of these interns were from the Pine Bluff area, and all of them lived in dorms at the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff for the summer. In addition to working with these children and churches, they were able to learn more about some of the non-profits in the area such as Canvas Community and Methodist Family Health. They even visited the Arkansas Conference Office and learned more about the church.

These experiences reinforced to these young adults the importance of their internship and the call to ministry. After the summer concluded, each intern was asked to give a six-word memoir about their experience. One young woman was from Ghana and had sacrificed quite a bit to come to Arkansas to serve as an intern. Her memoir was “From Fearfully Overwhelmed to Fearlessly Overcome.” Wow. In such a short time, this young woman found support, help, and hope and all because of her experience with PT Arkansas.

PT Arkansas is just getting started. In addition to continuing the summer program in this area, they hope to expand and offer an after-school program and eventually serve other locations across the state. Their long-term goal is that these experiences have such an impact on the kids that they are excited to come back and serve as an intern. To learn more about this amazing program, please visit their website at or reach out to Rev. Sam Meadors at 501-650-0565 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

- Amy Anderson



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