Fellowship of Christian Athletes offers hot line for students in need

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — Part of the mission of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is to be available to students, whether they’re athletes or not.

That’s one reason why the organization established a hot line, said FCA area representative Barney Sarver.

“It’s free and discreet,” he said. “The purpose of FCA is to present Christ. We’ll use any avenue to open that door.”

Started by the Arkansas FCA, the Central Texas chapter built partnerships with faith-based ministries who man the hot line for people ages 10-25, who might need to talk to someone about any number of personal things such as suicide, cutting, drugs, bullying or pregnancy.

“Most of the time, they don’t tell anybody,” he said. “It’s a non-invasive hot line. They’re not going to report them to anyone unless it’s life-threatening.”

Volunteers will ask to pray with the person they’re talking to but won’t push it if the answer is no, he said.

The aim, Sarver said, is to reach out to a kid who needs help but is too ashamed to ask for it. He said he understands that student because that’s who he was when he was that age.

“I was a wreck,” he said. “I didn’t tell anyone. My salvation was athletics. If I had been involved with FCA, perhaps it wouldn’t have been so hard.”

Marble Falls Middle School is the first area junior high to get a hot line, while Lake Travis High School was the first area high school to receive one, followed by Blanco High School.

Sarver said the organization plans on having a banner promoting the hot line at Marble Falls High School, and they don’t plan to stop there. Since FCA works with several Highland Lakes campuses in Llano, Johnson City and Burnet, he said they plan on putting banners on those campuses, too.

“Athletes set the pace at a school,” he said. “Their greatest influence is a coach. They can impact the whole campus.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com