Christian mentorship program starts in Austin

Published 2:22 pm Saturday, August 15, 2009

A new Christian-based service organization is seeking volunteers to help people in need.

ATLAS (Attaining Truth, Love and Self-Control) Group of Austin is a non-profit program of community members who mentor children and adults in times of hurt.

Bruce Franta, an ATLAS board member, and his wife, Deanna, the volunteer coordinator, said the group builds on a program previously operated in Austin among four churches. Volunteers would minister children at Bremerton Townhomes and provide fun activities and trips.

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“We went to much deeper relationships with the kids,” Bruce said.

Unlike the service they provided before, ATLAS will help children and adults alike.

Bruce said ATLAS is more involved; they want to “genuinely help them … we want to get to the core. Without God’s help, we can’t do anything.” He said the premise behind ATLAS is to “walk with people through their problems…”

“ATLAS attempts to bring individual Christians together in the community who have a strong desire to serve and want to help the hurting,” he said.

There is no time commitment or requirements, the Frantas said, because everyone can help on a different capacity, and they may not know yet what that is.

“We would like mentors and anyone who wants to become involved,” Deanna said.

ATLAS also serves as a ministry for those “who do not or will not attend a church.” One volunteer has even offered services for free financial counseling.

The group is non-denominational; it’s only focus is Christianity.

Deanna said ATLAS is “much bigger than one church — we’re on the same team.”

She cited an example from another ATLAS group of a woman who had lost her children and was homeless.

“They helped her get a job and a place to live,” she said.

ATLAS does not, however, approach people and ask if they want help. They want people who want to be helped; most are referred to ATLAS or ask for their services themselves.

“They have to want to be a part of it,” Bruce explained.

“They find us,” Deanna said.

An ATLAS informational meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Austin Public Library Conference Room, with refreshments at 6:30 p.m. The founder of ATLAS will also be present at the meeting. RSVP to or call 434-4757. ATLAS is online at