Project Transformation was founded in 1998 by Sarah Wilke and Dr. Leighton K. Farrell, two visionary leaders in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. They recognized several challenges facing the conference at the time: the impending shortage of young leadership in the church, the need to connect churches together to help revitalize struggling urban congregations, and a way for United Methodist-related institutions to collaborate more effectively. Over lunch one day, they sketched out an idea on a napkin of how one program could address all of these challenges. Several months later, they launched Project Transformation with financial and in-kind support from the annual conference and key partners, such as Texas Methodist Foundation, Southern Methodist University, and Perkins School of Theology. Several Dallas-area churches, Sunday School classes and United Methodist Women’s groups provided stipends for PT Corps Members, children’s books and supplies, and volunteers to read one-on-one with the children.
The first summer began with 22 college interns (now PT Corps Members) serving at five urban site church locations, providing a summer day camp for 250 underserved children. While there were so many hands that went into laying the foundation for Project Transformation, it was that original class of PT Corps Members that were the real builders. Even then, they sensed they were the start of something incredibly special. Over the course of time, the program has more than quadrupled in size, with more and more college students attracted to serve the needs of children in low-income neighborhoods. Today, Project Transformation is serving at 11 site churches, with 135 PT Corps Members providing after-school and summer programs for approximately 1,200 children and youth, grades 1-12 annually. We connect over 90 partner churches and 2,000 volunteers within the North Texas community to serve in ministry together.