The work of Ascending Lights was recognized when Pope Benedict XVI named founder Gary Krauss a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great. No horses or armor were included, though!
Gary has worked full time as C.E.O. without monetary compensation since the inception of the agency in 1992. His wife, Marjorie, a nurse, supports the family. They live in a barrio near downtown Los Angeles.
To date a total of 117 Christian leaders from 57 inner city churches of varying denominations have benefited from Ascending Lights programs.
Mentoring Program Success Stories
Quality mentoring continues to be the key to our success. We finished the fiscal year with 13 mentors on staff. All but one are employed part-time and are paid by the hour. The one exception is our Program Assistant who serves as a mentor and administrative assistant. The stories below are representative of our mentoring successes.
Mario is an amazing young man from St. Michael’s church in South Central Los Angeles. Several years ago he was the innocent victim of a drive-by shooting and wound up with a bullet permanently lodged in his head. In addition to having some continuing cognitive challenges he is without the ability to use his left arm and leg. Despite his horrific past, Mario is an inspirational leader in the adult confirmation class at his church. He has forgiven his attackers, has an amazing faith in God, and shares his testimony with many. Nevertheless, Mario has many challenges facing him in college. Thanks to strong mentoring, Mario was able to access a wide range of services for disabled students at LA City College. So far he has a 3.4 grade point average. In addition, using discretionary funds, we were able to pay for Mario to obtain driver training for disabled students. Then we purchased for him the necessary equipment to outfit his vehicle. He now is able to drive himself to and from community college. Mario plans to go into the area of medical social work. He is an incredibly bright young man and will surely succeed in achieving his dream.
Marina is one of two young women who have completed all of the necessary coursework to enter nursing school. She was once homeless and hopelessly addicted to drugs. During that time she became pregnant with her daughter. Marina and her daughter now live with her grandparents. Several years ago, she had a “conversion experience” and became a passionate Christian. She is active in her church in religious education and counsels other young women in her community who are at risk. As a result of the power of God and good mentoring, Marina is also an “A” student. Her mentor has spent countless hours assisting her in applying to various nursing schools. She has taken and passed all of the necessary tests. Thanks to her mentor she graduated from nursing school at Southwest Community College in the spring of 2014. She is now working at Harbor UCLA Medical Center as a Telemetry Nurse.