Photo and video by David Taylor | Staff Photographer
The Red Bus Project stopped by MTSU to help raise awareness about orphan care and to encourage students to join the cause by shopping at their mobile thrift shop.
“Every 18 seconds a child becomes an orphan somewhere in the world, and we think college students can leverage their voice to help represent those kids,” said Chris Wheeler, director of student initiatives at Show Hope.
The Red Bus Project is a part of the student program of Show Hope, a nonprofit founded by Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, with the mission of providing financial aid to families in the adoption process. Chapman and his wife began Show Hope after experiencing the difficulty of adoption first hand when they adopted their daughter Shaohannah Hope. The nonprofit’s original name was, in fact, called Shoahannah’s Hope.
“Originally, [Chapman and his wife] were thinking ‘What if we could help 100 families? That would be awesome,’” said Wheeler. “Now, we’ve been able to help over 5,000 children from all across the world, including the U.S.”
Wheeler and Caleb Chapman, the son of Steven Curtis Chapman, started the Red Bus Project, a dream of theirs with a goal of engaging college students and getting them involved in orphan care, according to Wheeler. The mission of the Red Bus Project, as described on their website, is “to engage high school and college students in caring for orphans.”
“Students can be involved in a lot of ways,” said Wheeler. “One is just raising their voice. They can talk about us on social media. They can tell their peers. They can tell their friends. They can tell their family and help spread the awareness that there are children in need.”
The Red Bus project also operates as a mobile thrift store, but Wheeler said if clothes are not sold or donations are not received then “that’s fine.” He explained that Monday’s goal was simply to have real conversations and generate advocacy for orphan care.
“Adoption is not for everybody but orphan care is,” said Wheeler. “We don’t think that everybody is supposed to adopt, but we do think that everybody can be involved in representing children and speaking up for kids that can’t speak up for themselves.”
Get an inside look of the Red Bus Project in the video below: