Rod and Carol Hervey work to instill leadership and a spirit for volunteering in Center Grove youth
Between the two of them, Rod and Carol Hervey are involved in nearly every ministry at New Hope Church of Greenwood: playing music, preparing meals, working with high school youth, in bible studies, aerobics, prayer and hospitality and much more. The last several years, their time and energy has been focused primarily on helping youth at the church and through a ministry at Center Grove Estates.
“She and I were both blessed with mentors when we were younger and we’ve been involved in mentoring programs, Key Clubs and other things,” Rod says. “We realize that having some positive role in developing kids is so important. When you see kids get older and progress in making better decisions and become leaders themselves, it’s hard not to keep motivated. They are our future leaders. If we can help foster opportunities that they might not have, then God will take over and do the rest.”
Carol and Rod moved to the Center Grove area in 1970 after graduating from college. Carol was a teacher for 39 years, starting special education programs at Greenwood Middle School, Clark Pleasant Jr. High and Center Grove High School. She started an alternative teenage program for emotionally handicapped teenagers at Ben Davis High School. Rod is a retired mortgage banker who taught three separate sports in Greenwood for 17 years. They have three children and two grandchildren who live in the area. They have been members of New Hope Church since it first started.
“Our church family is our extended family,” Carol says. “We have so many giving people. We are very blessed to have an outreaching church family here.”
The same year that Carol retired from teaching, she was approached by Lorrie Gray, a bus driver and also owns Ella’s Frozen Yogurt in Greenwood. She wanted to start a bible study at Center Grove Estates.
“She said she always wanted to do something in that area and so she recruited us,” Carol says.
Together, a small group of people began what they consider an extended ministry of New Hope at Center Grove Estates, previously titled Friendly Village, a mobile home community off County Line Road. The church purchased a trailer and renovated it for the ministry.
“You couldn’t get two more perfect people than Rod and Carol,” Gray says. “As God grows a ministry, he brings more hands and feet. With their energy and their time, God has just used them. It’s been amazing … It’s a blast doing what we’re doing. We’re not doing it because we have to. We get more joy out of it than the kids ever would. We’re just trying to move where God wants us to move.”
One child attended the first meeting. It continued to grow to where today, if they’re taking a trip somewhere, more than 30 kids could tag along. They not only host bible studies, but take trips with the children, help them find ways to volunteer in their community and host educational camps.
“You don’t just do ministry an hour a week there,” Rod says. “You are there to do life with people. That’s the way she and I look at it.”
Carol calls herself a bus driver, as she is often the one to drive – either her car or a bus – to take the children to and from events. Carol volunteered in June with New Hope to drive a bus and help with the Stars Camp where 40 teenagers were in charge of leading 90 campers. They also hosted a three-week sports camp called In Jesus Name We Play at Center Grove Estates where Center Grove High School teenagers volunteered to introduce the youth to a different sport each week.
This summer, the group has volunteered at the White River Township Fire Department’s Strawberry Festival, organizing games and face painting for the Special Olympics. They marched with the Greater Greenwood Lions Club at the June 27 Freedom Festival. They will often go to the Midwest Food Bank or University Heights and spend time giving back.
“We try to inspire them to branch out, socially, not just spiritually, and in giving back,” Carol says. “The girls and guys absolutely love it when they can serve and do something for someone else. It makes them feel that they have worth and value. It gives them a whole different perspective about themselves.”
Seeing smiling faces from the children and families is what Carol and Rod says helps them keep charged up and ready to keep going. The ministry will host a Back to School event at the end of July for families in Center Grove Estates.
“We try to push the forming of relationships,” Rod says. “It’s networking. Everyone needs that.”
In the fall they will often take trips to Trafalgar’s Apple Works and cook a large meal for Thanksgiving to bring the entire community together. They continue to encourage the youth to take on more leadership roles and foster volunteerism.
“I’ve always taught middle and high school students, and just to see the next generation take leadership, responsibility and to see what their gifts and talents are, I’m so motivated by that,” Carol says.