Meet Our Mission Partner: Operation Exodus

NEXT volunteers lead a water-balloon toss at Operation Exodus.

Matt Mahoney, executive director of Operation Exodus, offers a Moment for Mission during worship this Sunday (July 12). Read more about this youthful mission partner and its growing relationship with FAPC.

Operation Exodus was founded on the belief that education is the most promising path out of poverty for youth in the inner city. And now FAPC is taking on a larger role in supporting that mission.

Since 1988, Operation Exodus has offered tutoring and faith-based mentoring after school, on Saturdays and throughout the summer for students in Washington Heights, Inwood and the Bronx. The organization serves children and youth of all ages, from kindergarten to the college-bound, with guidance for parents as well.

FAPC has worked with Operation Exodus since the early 1990s, when the late Margaret Shafer (director of Outreach at the time) began referring volunteers interested in serving children and youth. When executive director Matt Mahoney and his fiancee were looking for a wedding venue large enough to include their extended, Operation Exodus family, Margaret arranged for them to be married here.

In 2012, Family Ministries chose Operation Exodus as the site of its Youth Summer Mission Project. And when Operation Exodus became a mission partner in 2014, its relationship with FAPC grew even stronger. 

Operation Exodus has been an FAPC Serves site for the past two years, and particularly popular with young adult volunteers from NEXT. In June, FAPC hosted Operation Exodus’ annual fundraising awards banquet. And later this year, FAPC volunteers will participate in a special panel event geared toward high school students working on college and scholarship applications. 

“My personal interest is in youth education,” says Dottie Cannon, FAPC’s Mission Partner Committee liaison to Operation Exodus. “Grade school is a pivotal time when students grow from learning to read to reading to learning. If reading skills are not established at this time, all of a student’s academic work will fall behind.”

Financial support from FAPC has enabled Operation Exodus to keep its year-round curricula current and in supply for the growing number of students in its after-school and summer programs. Curricula such as KidzLit and KidzMath integrate lessons with games to stimulate reading and math skills.

Operation Exodus can always use volunteers to assist with activities and tutoring. The organization mixes learning with fun to help forge bonds between the students and their adult mentors. Organizing a water-balloon toss was among the principal activities on FAPC Serves day, for example. 

“I don't often have the opportunity to interact with children, so getting the chance to run around outside and have worry-free play for a couple hours is a wonderful escape from city life,” says NEXT volunteer Joanna McNurlen. “Operation Exodus reminds me how many niche communities there are in the city and how diverse we are, yet still alike where it counts. After all, who can say no to a water balloon toss?”

This article is part of a series on our 15 FAPC mission partners.
We invite you to read more about:

Hands Along the Nile Development Services
Holmes Presbyterian Camp & Conference Center​
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church & Neighborhood House
New York Asian Women's Center
Project FIND
West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing

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