Merced County Times Newspaper
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Church community celebrates 10 years of Isaiah Project


“The Isaiah Project” just celebrated its 10-year anniversary at the Calvary Assembly of God, located at 1021 R St in Merced.

The after-school program hosts a back-to-school drive for their kids every year, and this year was no different as the youth in the program and at the church all received brand new shoes — just in time for their return to school.

“It’s amazing how God has given so much favor to this program,” said Elenor Romero, director of the youth outreach for the program. “We have had a lot of people that have blessed the Isaiah Project, and you can tell that God has his hand in this ministry.

The “Isaiah Project” was created in honor of Isaiah Romero, a south Merced youth who tragically passed at the age of 15 due to gun violence. In 2012, Isaiah was caught in in the middle of a fight between two gangs when he left his grandmother’s house to go to a party a couple of blocks over. His memory continues through the efforts of parishioners at Calvary Assembly of God and with the direction of Elenor Romero, Isaiah’s grandmother.

“In honor and in memory of Isaiah, the children that attend the outreach are from all over the area,” she explained. “Our main goal is to save young people’s lives and lead them to Christ. The Isaiah Project is really great and we are thankful for all who have contributed to this ministry. Warming up with these kids what it is all about and I tell them, it’s so simple and yet it’s so strong. I tell them they have to listen to their parents, stay in school, be good, and don’t be anywhere like Isaiah. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In 2012, the Isaiah Project  first began its back-to-school giveaway by giving out backpacks to community members.

“I had 250 people in line,” Romero said. “They would come from this area or anywhere else in the community. As time went on, it dwindled. Covid really changed the program and I was so troubled because I couldn’t have the kids here to do bible study and give them something to eat.”

Taking inspiration from the drive-thru food distributions that many schools did through the peak of the early pandemic, Romero decided to drop off food and material to the youth in the Isaiah Project. Now, with restrictions lifted, the after-school program is back in full swing, open to Merced youth ages 5-17 on the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month from 4-5:30PM.

“It’s a great project and it gets kids off of the streets,” Calvary’s Pastor Juan explained. “It gives them a safe place to be in this neighborhood without worrying about any harm or influence of drugs, gangs, or alcohol on them. We are here to try and make an impact on these kids in the best way possible.”

For more information on the Isaiah Project, please contact Elenor at our (209) 777-2889.

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