Joy Ready is the founder and director of King’s Club International Ministries. Ready founded this inner city ministry eight years ago. She quit a successful bridal shop business to make this vision a reality. Although her private business provided ample financial security, she wanted to impact the lives of the community around her.
Ready decided to start King’s Club to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the underprivileged and at-risk children in Urbana-Champaign. After taking the big step of selling her business, she decided to dedicate her life to reaching out to the poor. In achieving this goal, she had to sacrifice; however, she is happy with the choice she made. Though her current income actually is well below that of the people she now ministers to, Ready will continue her service with the King’s Club.
The King’s Club is reliant on private donations for funding. Since its inception, it has grown to become the most prominent inner city program in Urbana-Champaign. Each week, a Sidewalk Sunday School bus visits the areas and provides a time of fun and excitement for the children. Games, prizes and food are given out along with a weekly bible lesson in the form of skits and examples.
King’s Club is the only organization in town that goes out to the inner city every week and personally visits each home of every child that attends the Sidewalk Sunday School. The number of children in the program has grown steadily annually, and today the organization reaches out to nearly a thousand children in the Urbana-Champaign area. Most everyone in the inner city knows about the King’s Club and “Sister Joy.”
From the Thanksgiving boxes of Love to Easter Egg Hunts to Christmas stockings and presents, Ready’s vision has been to partner the Urbana-Champaign community with the underprivileged. Every year she has mobilized radio stations, local churches and even college organizations like the Asian American Association, to donate their time and money to help make the lives of the youth a little better.
During that process, the King’s Club promotes awareness of the plight of the inner city children. It has also helped to better knit the community into one working unit. They have made the neighborhoods safer and most importantly, changed the lives of children. Many of the youth that have been a part of the Club from its inception are now teenagers, and they are making decisions that will positively impact their community and the rest of their lives. They are able to make more informed decisions as a result of the ministry of the King’s Club.
Ready made personal sacrifices to meet a need in her community. Her sacrifice has resulted in the founding of King’s Club, and now the Club has expanded as far away as Africa. King’s Club Nigeria now meets with more than 300 children in Nigeria. There are plans to expand to South Africa and Brazil also.