Johnson City, TENN. – More than 300 people attended the Coalition for Kids’ Fifth Annual Celebration Luncheon at the Holiday Inn in Johnson City on Tuesday, supporting one of the area’s most impactful children’s ministries.
The program, highlighting the Coalition’s first sixteen years, opened with an invocation by Rev. Andrew Amodei, lead pastor at Cherokee United Methodist Church in Johnson City. domain archive . A prerecorded video of two songs performed by an ensemble of exuberant C4K kids provided evidence of the ministry’s work.
Mitch Cox, CEO of Mitch Cox Companies and founder of Coalition for Kids, gave the keynote address. He traced the beginning of C4K and the difference the organization is making in the lives of children as not only life-changing but also life-saving. He shared the story of a childhood friend losing his life because “there was simply no safe place for the kids to go to receive love, discipline, and encouragement – the three things so essential to survive and become productive and responsible.”
Cox said, “I realized right then, that we all may grow up in a free country, but we don’t all have the same opportunities.” He paid tribute to his parents, who provided him with not only food, clothing, and shelter, but also spiritual growth and development.
Cox’s mother challenged him to attend a Walk to Emmaus Weekend which “changed my life…I realized the responsibility to take whatever talents and opportunities God has given me …to give back to others and help spread his Word.”
Later, when asked by Bob James from East Pine Grove Park UMC to provide funds for a playground, Cox insisted that a ministry to “share the love of Jesus and train the kids to become productive” was needed instead. He and Lawrence Porterfield then donated a building that is now “The Rock,” the home of C4K. Randy Hensley was employed as executive director “to mentor and motivate these young kids.”
Randy Hensley
Cox asked those in attendance to give to “an organization that ‘transforms lives, one kid at a time.’” He received a standing ovation after leaving the stage.

Open a PDF copy of Mitch Cox’s speech here.

Randy Hensley spoke to the attendees regarding the actions to reclaim unloved children. He said, “Education is not the only answer to nurturing broken children. . It’s love; the same unconditional love Jesus Christ showed each one of us.”
The mission of Coalition for Kids is “to help children grow in wisdom and stature and in the favor of God and man.” In 2013, C4K had eight after-school programs and one, state-recognized, evening program operating five days a week. The organization had 282 children registered in its after-school program and a record 136 children in its evening program. Another 140 children participated in the eight-week summer program. Nearly 3,000 volunteers gave 3,158 hours of service, and over 150 children were sponsored through the Sponsor A Child campaign.
Cherokee UMC hosts the Club Amistades ministry of C4K to the Hispanic community and provides a second site for the summer program. Amodei said there is a waiting list for all programs and more funds are needed. He then closed the luncheon in prayer and gratitude to the sponsors, especially The Trust Company, a three-year corporate sponsor.
Founded in Johnson City in 1979, Mitch Cox Companies is a full-service real estate investment and solutions company offering development, architectural, construction, brokerage and commercial property management services. The company also manages hotel properties across the Southeast and Midwest U.S. and manages residential community associations in the Tri-Cities region of Tennessee. To see our work, listings and news, visit our Facebook page or call us at 423.282.6582.