Building KC Literacy for God’s Kingdom

KC Nonprofit Minding the Gap adopts local schools to meet practical and spiritual needs
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Literacy incompetency is currently a crisis in the public school system, with as few as one in three American fourth graders reading at a proficient level, and KC literacy levels are no exception. Academic gaps in literacy, statistically, lead to a higher likelihood of dropping out of high school, and 75% of crimes in the U.S. are committed by high school dropouts. 

Zack Nicholson recently shared these statistics in a conversation with Faith Horizons, discussing how to raise the KC literacy rate. Zack Nicholson is the founder and president of Minding the Gap, a local ministry seeking to reach elementary-aged students through tutoring, mentorship, and Bible Clubs.

Finding the Gaps in KC Literacy

Zack never considered himself a candidate for children’s ministry. After moving to KC in 2007 to be involved with the International House of Prayer, his ministry involvement and leadership experience had always focused on adults, and he enjoyed it.

But while serving as a council member for an education organization, Zack witnessed teachers’ immense need for additional resources, specifically for more tutors in literacy. Zack felt God calling him to shift his focus from adult ministry to schoolchildren, and this call led to the conception and creation of Minding the Gap.

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Minding the Gaps in KC Literacy

As Zack launched Minding the Gap, he meditated on Isaiah 58. “[Isaiah] talks about the three basic needs,” Zack told Faith Horizons. “If you see somebody hungry, give them bread. If somebody needs shelter, give them shelter, and clothe [them] if you see them naked.” 

Zack’s vision from Isaiah 58 paved the way for his ministry in schools. Zack worked hard to meet any practical need that came up, leading to more and more ways to serve. 

“Just meeting those practical needs, their hearts open up and [they] just know that you’re committed and invested,” Zack shared. “People have your word.”

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Raising KC Literacy through Tutoring, Mentoring, and Bible Clubs

Minding the Gap’s literacy programs rely on volunteers working with kids to fulfill three goals: teach reading skills, build self-esteem, and promote healthy connections with caring adults. Volunteers can help grow KC kids’ literacy by tutoring in reading or by helping with after-school Bible clubs.

Minding the Gap’s literacy tutoring takes place through their Building Bridges program. Volunteers serve by meeting with students individually and following a curriculum binder that guides them through the tutoring session. 

The second way to volunteer is by helping with after-school Bible 180 clubs. These clubs take the year to go through an action Bible, provided to each student through the organization’s funding. The 180 Bible clubs have been immensely successful, with almost 150 students participating last year

Although Minding the Gap currently ministers in just three schools, they have received invitations from other districts to begin programs there. However, they lack the volunteers needed to make that expansion possible. 

“If we had 100 tutors, we could plug them into the schools we’re in tomorrow,” Zack explained. “The need is just so great.”

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Photo by Mathew Rupp with Unsplash

To the Uttermost Parts of the World

Zack’s vision for Minding the Gap is to continue in faithfulness in KC for the time being, but he hopes to expand the ministry in years to come. 

“Our goal is to continue to grow a little at a time,”  Zack told Faith Horizons. “I feel the Lord gave me an Acts 1:8 plan – where Jesus tells the disciples to go preach the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the earth.”

Zack looks forward to a day when Minding the Gap can offer resources and programs to schools across the United States.

To find out more, donate, or sign up as a volunteer, check out Minding the Gap’s website,

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