By Lindsay Peyton

It all started with a vision for a name and a logo. Pastor Kimm Thomas, who serves both Warren Chapel UMC in Huntsville and Mt. Zion UMC in Coldspring, felt divinely guided when she worked up the design for “Praise on My Lips” about eight years ago. She knew God was telling her to start a nonprofit, but she still was not sure what its focus would be. In 2020, it came to her – helping children achieve success. “You never know how God’s plan will turn out,” she said.

“Praise on My Lips” was inspired by Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” When Thomas initially drew a cross and lips as the logo, she assumed the nonprofit would be geared towards women.

Later, she discovered a whole other purpose, when she sat down to commit her thoughts to paper.  “I thought I was writing a book – but really I was writing God’s plan for ministry,” she said.

A year ago, Thomas filed the paperwork for her nonprofit, Praise on My Lips Ministries, which assists children with the finances needed to enroll in extracurricular activities. Thomas explained that economically disadvantaged students struggle to cover extra curricular fees and buy uniforms.

She discovered that there were more than 200 homeless teens in the area. “They might be couch-surfing, staying on someone’s sofa, or even staying in hotels,” the pastor explained.

The more Thomas researched, the more driven she was to help. “We have kids who are trying to do all of their work in the classroom, because they don’t have a computer at home,” she said. “They’re just trying to stay caught up in school.”

Her husband of 29 years, Ronald Thomas, also embraced the vision and partnered with her making this a family ministry. Her next step was assembling a board of directors with the same passion.

“I started reaching out, and they came with a lot of excitement,” Thomas said. Members now include parents, graduates of Huntsville ISD, teachers and psychologists.

Then, Praise on My Lips prepared for its first fundraiser – Cajun, Soul and All That Jazz, held in early April. A raffle, which started the month before the event, raised enough funds to establish several scholarships. Two $500 awards will go to students for college, two for a summer program and two for the Boys and Girls Club.

Currently, the nonprofit is fundraising to help students cover extracurricular costs in the fall. Recipients will be referred by counselors, clergy and teachers to receive assistance through the program.

Thomas explained that the board is still formulating the process. She is also spreading the word throughout the community, hoping to find more partners. She is also applying for grants.

Thomas said the nonprofit’s goal is to foster self-confidence in children and help them realize their gifts. “So many kids are lost, because they don’t feel a part of something,” she explained. “It’s no fault of their own or of their parents. They see other kids going to band, art club, drill team and debate. But they can’t participate because they don’t have the funds.”

She is confident that the community will band together to change all of that. “God has really opened my eyes to the need we have for this type of ministry,” she said. “It was definitely God-inspired.”

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