Bethel Alumna Connected to ABC Reality TV Show
When a small film company contacted Jacque (Boone ’01) Miller and her husband Ben, director of Urban Faith Works (UFW) in Gary, Ind., the company told the Millers they were making a documentary about grass roots movements. The film would showcase unsung heroes in places like Gary. To the couple’s surprise, the company had chosen UFW.
UFW and ABC
UFW is a nonprofit that provides a safe place for kids to come after school and during the summer. Jacque, treasurer and board member of UFW, says the organization exists to help with homework, teach life skills and life lessons, help students set and achieve goals, and assist families to bring about these objectives.
Little did this couple know that the “small film company,” was actually the large television network ABC. UFW will soon premiere on the television reality show “Secret Millionaire.”
“As you can imagine, this shocked us! We weren’t expecting any of this,” says Jacque.
She believes that once the episode featuring UFW airs, it will help people better understand the needs of the people in the city of Gary. She’s hoping more people will be willing to do things to help too.
Challenges at UFW
It’s not always easy, says the former Bethel psychology major. One of the biggest challenges to keeping the ministry going is having enough workers. There are only two full-time workers, Ben and his mother, Gwen; the rest are volunteers. The ministry can only take 30 students, and there is a long waiting list.
Another challenge includes dealing with the emotional issues that arise when working in the inner city.
“It’s heartbreaking to see former students killed or incarcerated,” says Jacque. “We have to deal with students who have been mentally, physically and/or sexually abused. A number of our young people end up having at least one child before the age of 18.”
Strengths at UFW
But the Millers understand the importance of reaching out and being relational. Jacque says their strength at UFW has been in relationships.
“Many of the older students who currently come to UFW have been involved in the ministry since they were very young. They also have siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews who have gone through the program. This has allowed us to really get to know the families of the students who come to the ministry. Relationship building is key, so we are thrilled to be accepted and welcomed into the homes of our students. “
Another strength has been the success the couple sees with many of the students. Students are making academic gains, and many are graduating from high school. Some are choosing to continue their education after high school, and others commit to serving our country by enlisting in the Armed Forces.
“In a city where there are high unemployment rates, it brings us great joy to see some of our students making wise decisions that will greatly impact their future,” says Jacque.
Revealing the Secret in “Secret Millionaire”
During the filming of the reality show, a man from the film crew posed as a volunteer. He was able to see what really goes into this ministry. And this is where the secret part of the show comes in.
The new “volunteer” revealed himself as a millionaire who helps financially with a check at the end of the shoot.
This experience and financial contribution definitely impacted the UFW and the Millers.
“It reinforces that we matter to God. There is no way we could ever have predicted that ‘little old us’ would be selected for something that’s going to air nationwide. However, the Lord had a plan from the beginning and as we’ve been faithful to Him, He’s continued to be faithful to us, and drop an unexpected surprise in our laps,” says Jacque. “This experience was reassurance to me that He sees us and hasn’t forgotten about us in a forgotten land. We are doing exactly what He wants us to do, no matter how hard it gets. This is where He wants us, so this is where we will serve Him.”
The “Secret Millionaire” episode that will include God’s Children’s House/Urban Faith Works will air on Sunday, March 20, 8/7c on ABC.