Thursday, January 9, 2014

TOC Devo: Kingdom Children

 Karen Snowberger offers you some insight into our new tutoring ministry that we started this fall.    In collaboration with Garrett Elementary School we added tutors from our church to an existing afterschool ministry taking place in an Augusta Housing Authority complex called Olmstead Homes.  While Mercy Ministries is present every afternoon from 4:00-6:00PM, and weekdays in the summer, we are adding a level of skill to the existing effort.  Imagine a bunch of white, professional, suburban folk going into an African-American urban housing project and you get the picture.  While most of us had passed Olmstead Homes MANY times over the years, none of us had spent anytime in the middle of that block of homes just off the corner of Broad and Milledge.  

Read Mark 10: 13-16
I knew many years ago that God blessed me with the gift of teaching children.  There was nothing like the adrenaline rush I would get when I would see new students and their parents at the beginning of each school year.  I had no problem gushing with enthusiasm at that open house before school started each year because I was ready to share as much as I possibly could with this new class of children.  God was so good to be because He helped me develop my patience over the years.  Even though there were many days throughout my 32 years on the job that God had a lot of requests from me for more patience and stamina, He was always faithful!

 Last spring I retired from full time teaching, but I certainly didn’t want to give up teaching.  I think that if God gives a gift, it should be used as long as it possibly can be.  I have become involved in several volunteer opportunities that work with children.  One of them is Go Team.  This ministry offers tutoring to elementary students from Garrett Elementary School.  Our team offers tutoring services to the children one afternoon a week for two hours at Olmstead Homes Housing Project.
At first, the program was rather chaotic and incredibly noisy.  I had my doubts that we were going to be able to accomplish very much.  However, some changes have been made, and the room is now more organized and controlled.  When the kids get off the bus, they run inside with smiles on their faces because they are eager to see us. They know and trust us which is a fabulous thing to see!  Even a few of the middle schoolers have ventured over recently for help with their homework.  I think that shows a huge step forward for this program.

Every Wednesday is special for me, but one day I had the joy of watching a first grader finish reading a book all on his own with very few errors. I had brought the book from home (the old classic Go Dog Go) and when he finished his work, I asked if he would like to read me a book.  He seemed excited about trying, and as he progressed through the book, he was more and more delighted by the story.  I was delighted by the sparkle in his eyes and the infectious laughter that bubbled out of him.  In that moment, it was just him, me, and the story!  When the book was over, he said, “Wow! That was the best book ever, and I read it myself!” There’s nothing more rewarding than that!
Karen Snowberger
Pray for the children of Olmstead Homes, the teachers at Garrett Elementary and area schools, and the opportunities we have as we develop relationships and share our lives and skills in different parts of Augusta. 

No comments: