UpStreet Gains Small Groups Director

Kelli Richards was invited to Access Church in August 2007 by her friend, James David Carter, who was leading worship there. “I fell in love with the church that first day,” Kelli said. “I felt like I had gone to every church in town, but never found one that was a good fit for me. There was something different about Access. I could tell they were going to do cool things in Jacksonville, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Kelli, who had recently graduated from the University of North Florida, quickly got involved at Access. She worked with 1-year-olds and 4-year-olds before she was asked to lead and encourage the adult UpStreet volunteers as an UpStreet coach. “I was excited to be involved with UpStreet,” she said. “Until that point, everyone I knew at the church was a toddler. It opened up the doors and let me meet a lot more people.”

After coaching for a year, Kelli accepted a part-time role on staff as the director of small groups for UpStreet. “I’m essentially doing a lot of what I did as a coach, but now I’m also doing more long-term planning, staying in touch with North Point and other partnership churches, working on curriculum, and planning other events,” she said.

Kelli feels passionate about the impact UpStreet has on the kids who experience it. “I just love seeing the kids ‘get it’—realizing that Jesus loves them and has a plan for them,” she said. “I think UpStreet does a great job introducing kids to having a relationship with Christ and giving kids a solid foundation.”

UpStreet not only has an impact on kids, it also has drawn whole families to Access. “I hear the kids’ excitement about UpStreet in the hallways, and I know that there are families who keep coming back to Access because their kids love UpStreet. It’s exciting to see that.”

Besides working at Access, Kelli is the clinic coordinator and the athletic trainer at University Christian School. She loves sports and helps coach the varsity softball team. She doesn’t have much free time, but when she does, you can find her spending time with her family and friends.