Remember being in elementary school? That feeling of belonging in a group of peers was so good. It’s unfortunate many children don’t experience that acceptance these days. Between cliques and bullies, being a kid in this world is hard.
The 9- and 10-year-old girls in Huntington Green love Mondays after school lets out — they can’t wait for Kids Club! Every week these 4th- and 5th-grade girls are waiting at their front doors, or already outside, ready to be picked up. And because it’s all about Jesus’s loving-kindness and forgiveness, Kids Club is a place not only for Bible study, crafts and games, but it’s also where everyone is celebrated for being who they were created to be.
“Ms. Cherri” Johnson, our Children’s Ministry director, gets help from volunteers; these folks enjoy nurturing the hearts and minds of elementary students through afterschool enrichment. They love making kids smile too.
Around 4 p.m., children get picked up by a Caterpillar van from their home and taken to Catawba Presbyterian Church, which is on McCoy Road less than 1 mile from Dad’s House. Kids Club lasts a little over an hour and ends before 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The school grades each get a separate day (Monday is 4th and 5th girls; Tuesday is 4th and 5th boys; Wednesday is 3rd and half of 2nd; Thursday is 1st and the other half of 2nd).
They’re really hungry when they burst through the doors! Snack certainly comes first, and the kids gobble up yummy, healthy choices (fruits and veggies) and the occasional sweet treat. We’re thankful for grant money from local organizations that helps us fill their stomachs — they’re less cranky — and fuel their brains.
The students learn about God’s love and the stories/scripture that’s in the Bible. They discover the books of the Bible (our 3rd-5th grades enjoy a Bible Bowl every May) and how to look up chapters and verses, mostly in the New Testament. Ms. Cherri makes learning fun and relevant. She’s funny and certainly has kid-friendly ways.
The eager 4th- and 5th-grade girls are taking notes during their Bible lessons. God is really doing a great work in their hearts. They’ve been talking about Eve and how “she wrecked everything.” (“Why do we have to have a period? Cramps hurt!”) Ms. Cherri and the girls talk about the natural consequences of bad choices; they realize they are not so different than Eve. The big takeaway is always that God doesn’t make bad things happen, but that the choices people make affect others.
“These girls are smart,” says Ms. Cherri. “We’re also studying Esther. We read the scriptures verse by verse, and they ask a lot of good questions. Of course, they’re typical girls and are silly gigglers at times, but they are really into it!”
Kindness? Patience? Self-control? As all the children grow up from year to year, they astonish Caterpillar staff and volunteers with their hunger for, and knowledge of, God’s Word, as well as their character. Learning about the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) is always part of Kids Club. It is wonderful to see the children help one another look up Bible verses.
Kids Club is filled with lots of love and encouragement. It’s great how learning about Jesus changes everything! The children, and volunteers, look forward to being together weekly.
Would you like to find out how to get involved? Email Jody to ask about volunteering.