In a few weeks, 50-60 kids will descend upon our humble church facility for Project Transformation. And I am so excited for them to meet you. I am excited for the kids to be nurtured and loved all summer long. I am excited for the college interns who will run Project Transformation to grow in their service and dedication to the “least of these” (who happen to have a ton to offer, by the way). I am excited for the church to be abuzz with activity that is meaningful and fruitful. The more I think about Project Transformation, the more I think how this is what I’ve always wanted to do in church. I am nervous, too, no doubt. But excitement and anticipatory joy is what I most feel.
My local school district in Ridgefield sent out an email last week about “safe routes” for kids walking to Union Ridge Elementary. It was useful to us since we are a walking-to-school family. The email was a map of our little town with orange arrows denoting the safest way to walk to school as well as the placement of crossing guards. It’s the kind of thing small towns do well: taking care of little ones. (Our house is just off the upper left corner of the map.)
Churches are good at taking care of little ones, too. We do so by teaching and exuding love. We care for children by equipping them with wisdom to navigate this tough world. We take care of kids by being trustworthy, thoughtful and helpful and for providing for their needs. One of the basic needs kids have is the need to understand the world. Project Transformation provides many methods for helping kids understand their needs. Help with reading is the method that is measurable. Other methods include teaching soft skills like kindness, cooperation, appropriate expression, etc. These are less measurable just just as vital. It inspires to be part of a program that will tangibly care for the kids around us.
Finally, I was so impressed with the Ridgefield school walking map, I created a map of my own. We have been working closely with Family Resource officers at Orchards and Silver Star Elementary Schools and the Transitions coach at Covington Middle School. As registration for kids opens in the coming weeks, we are focusing our attention on some housing units where many of the kids we will serve live. And I made a simple map, showing how, through Project Transformation, we will be connected to these residential areas. As I drew the lines I began thinking about the church as a hub for the community. It’s really an old-fashioned concept but oh so needed in our neighborhood. I began thinking about how these kids right now have no idea what we are about to offer them. I began thinking about how they will know us at the end of the summer. I began thanking God for Orchards and for putting us in the right place at the right time. I am so excited for you to meet these kids. But I am equally excited for these kids to meet you.
The best way for these kids to meet you is to volunteer to read with them. It really is a rewarding way to spend your summer mornings. To volunteer to read, please CLICK HERE to go to the registration page. From there you’ll be able to plan out the mornings you can read with the kids.
As I shared yesterday in church, I feel like the church is like a bag of popcorn just turning innocently in the microwave oven. But as the Project Transformation nears, it gets a little warmer, very soon the kids will be here and the church will burst with energy. Praise be to the living God, who does not give up on people, for the privilege of watching these little ones burst with promise and joy.