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The Journey Continues... Good Neighbors Joy Reading Club

Sunday, August 19, 2018

My recent journey allowed me to observe the closing weeks of the 10-week Good Neighbors Joy Reading Club at Redwood Baptist Church.

This mission project is based on two premises:

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

And the second premise is a desire to keep reading skills stable over the summer holidays.

I want to give praise to the people who served this summer and made the Good Neighbors ministry successful. People like Tom Conley, Thea Dake, Rose Ann Bilodeau and LaDean Williams, who worked together to coordinate the Joy Reading program from First Baptist Church, McCarthy Lane. Randy McMullen, Suzie and Larry Taylor, Charles Kight and Stan Finch served behind the scene. Redwood Baptist Church members Phil Walker and Wanda Pittman supervised outside games and maintained the church property while Debbie Ruiz drove the church van to pick up children. Pastor Robert Rodriguez Jr., and Michael Johnson provided back-up as needed. This ministry was the work of many hands.

Last Friday was the final day of the Summer Nutrition Program provided by the SMCISD under the direction of Mike Boone. Redwood’s meals were served daily by Laurie Garcia and Martha Gutierrez. They fed a total of 1,122 student meals and 117 adult meals. Each meal included milk, vegetable and a fruit.

After the meal, optional with parent’s permission, the Joy Reading Club was conducted by First Baptist Church volunteers using American Bible Society’s classic Bible stories for reading material. This is a multi-cultural literacy curriculum proven to raise children’s reading skills as they learn 30 Bible stories. Each 29-page storybook has full-colored illustrations that draw the reader into the story. The text has been vetted by the Salvation Army and the American Bible Society.

Motivation to read comes from adults who care. The tutors to the 30 enrolled children varied from day to day, but each reading session always started with the adult asking their reader if they could pray together before reading. Also, each Thursday Lolly Garza, a deacon, presented a children’s sermon.

PhisherKidz, directed by Melinda Hall, a one-week summer program at First Baptist Church, also included 22 Redwood Church children.

Thea Dake shared this story as to why the Reading Club is important: “Three young children were reading a Bible story which led to a discussion of life choices and harmony with your body. During this dialogue the kids agreed smoking led to cancer and drugs and alcohol destroy families. God will always be there. We should always pray for help and treat your body right and God will help you do it.”