Bleed me out

16 Oct

I know this family…

A family with beautiful children and a hardworking caring mom. A family that has overcome more statistics that you can imagine. This family counts themselves as blessed not because of their circumstances but because of their love for God and each other. A family of 5, the sweetest of families. They are my friends, my students, and everything that I believe in fighting for.

The oldest of the children has witnessed so much, too much. He’s carried the weight of the ‘man of the house’ since he was 10. Constantly looking after his brother and two sisters and making sure they have everything they need. He often puts his school work on hold so he can hold a sister while she cries or help his brother with his coloring.

Today his mom shared with me through tears a terribly sad story. At his past two doctors appointments while the doctors drew blood he looked at the them straight in the eyes and said, “Take as much of my dad’s blood as you can.”

Have you ever wanted to just erase something completely from your memory? Imagine trying to erase it completely from your whole self. This young boy wants to be bled out, completely and totally from his father.

There’s hurt in this boys eyes and it only grows by the day. Will you pray for him tonight?

Join the staff at CCM as we lift up this young boy and his whole family.

-Maryann

The magic at apartment 28

25 Jul

It was a particularly busy afternoon at the center, there were over 20 students and everyone was rushing in line for a snack. I noticed him run in from the corner of my eye and I knew he must have had a difficult day. Summer vacation is a great time for students to take a break from the daily grind of school work and for some it even means more visits to the park and pool! Unfortunately, for some it means being stuck in an environment that’s stressful.

Being 8 years old and having the signs of stress drain your face is tragic. An 8 year old shouldn’t be stressed, if anything he should be stressing out his parents! But when you’re expected to be the parent to 4 younger brothers and sisters the line between childhood and adulthood seem to become intertwined.

I can always tell when this young man has a hard day, he usually acts out in order to get my attention, he won’t smile, and refuses to work with anyone else but me (i’m starting to believe he feels safe with me). By the end of the day he was in better spirits and I felt peace knowing that he would be taking a little bit of that joy home with him. As we started to clean up and say goodbye to the students he came up and hugged me but not a bear hug type of embrace more like a ‘I don’t want any of my friends to see me hugging you’ deal. He slowly started making his way out the door and I walked him out and right before he left he came back quickly hugged me again and without another word was out the door.

Everytime I unlock the door to apartment 28 I can still feel the energy from the day before. It doesn’t feel right without the sound of jenga pieces collapsing and the hoots and hollers of the students. The silence is a reminder to me of what this place symbolizes. It’s the church, an after school program, a ministry, a place where marshmallow fights ensue and science experiments are held. It’s “una programa de la iglesia” as some moms call it and the place where moms can confidently drop off their children knowing it’s a safe and loving environment.

It’s the place where stressed 8 year olds come to give their teacher a hug before their friends can see them and the place where teachers and volunteers get to experience the love of Jesus in a whole new way.

That’s the Learning Center at apartment 28 and that’s some of the magic you make happen every week. Thank you, thank you, thank you so very muchCCM selfie

 

 

 

Maryann Flynn

LV Center Director

Moldy bread and youth groups!

18 Jul

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In addition to having the privilege of serving and interning at Club Christ Ministries (CCM), I am also the youth leader of the middle school and high school girls at my church, The Redeeming Lyte. So when the opportunity was presented for my youth ministry to volunteer for a week during the summer program, I knew my teens had to participate!

Throughout the week, the teens welcomed and interacted with the kids, set up science experiments (moldy bread anyone?), encouraged independent reading, played games, acted out the Biblical story of “Doubting Thomas”, AND led small group discussions with the students about the joyful truth that God is real and we are blessed for believing in Him without seeing Him.

While I could list several reasons to having your youth ministry serve at CCM, two benefits really stand out to me. The first is the benefit it has to a teen’s character development. By the end of the week, every single volunteer stated they had learned something about themselves: they were more caring than they realized and they could successfully manage small groups of children; additionally, they became more confident.

The realization that they could act as role models in the lives of kids they just met was profoundly impactful. That then translates to the idea that EVERY interaction they have- at school, church, in their neighborhood, wherever- is a chance to demonstrate God’s love.

The second benefit I noticed was the awareness that serving can be done from a place of desire and not a place of force. This is so important because it reflects a heart change in which teens actually want to volunteer because they enjoy it and not because they know they are supposed to.

My students are eager to come back and volunteer again at the Center. One of the high school girls had this to share: “The best part of serving was teaching kids who were so eager to learn and seeing how grateful they were for all the volunteers. Other teens would benefit from volunteering at Club Christ because it is a humbling experience and shows that despite your age, you really do have an impact, especially on younger kids.”

As youth ministry leaders, we can talk and quote Scripture about serving until we are blue in the face. However, until our students EXPERIENCE serving firsthand and have the opportunity to live their God-given gifts out, they won’t really understand that serving others is a major way we can joyfully serve God. And serving at CCM is such a wonderful way for youth to truly appreciate that concept!

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10).

 

Angela Perlik
Summer Intern- Club Christ Ministries

Where we find our kids…

27 Jun

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“She might be at that apartment by the blue car.  I see her playing over there a lot.”  He was referring to his little sister who attends CCM’s Henderson Center.  “Ok, I’m gonna check it out.  Our summer program starts today and I don’t want her to miss it.”  That was my goal, to find some of our “regulars” and see if we can get some “newbie’s” too.  When I rounded the corner to the adjacent apartment building the first thing I noticed was an open door.  “Might as well start there,” I thought.  A small African American boy and his 2nd grade brother, who were both shirtless on this hot summer day, greeted me.  I asked, “Is your Mom home?”  They both stared at me before answering, “Just a second.”

As they went around the corner I had time to survey the scene.  Their living room was in complete disarray.  The furniture placement didn’t make any sense.  Instead of being lined against the walls, worn chairs faced every direction.  I could only see one bedroom from the front door and all it contained was a mattress on the floor without any sheets.  I wondered if they had any air conditioning since the door was left open in the near 100-degree weather.  The air had a hollow feel to it like the life had been sucked out.

“Mr. Evan!”  One of our students, Kayla, came running from around the corner.  She was with the older sister of these young boys.  “Who are you?” the older sister said matter of factly.  “Hi I’m Mr. Evan and I run the Learning Center.  We have a Summer Program that starts today if you would like to come by.”  She was curious so she asked what we do there.  I paused because I wanted to hear how Kayla would describe it.  “Well, we have games and snacks and can get on the computers!  It’s so fun!”  I smiled knowing her description was all that was needed to bring this girl and her brothers to the Center.

When their Mom finally made it to the door, I explained the program to her as well.  Then she said, “They can go after she (her daughter) goes on up to W.I.C. for me.” She was referring to the federal program called Women, Infants and Children program that provides supplemental food to mothers and their children.  I wondered if that meant we wouldn’t be seeing her today so I reassured her that we would be there all week if she couldn’t come today.  Then I wished them well and walked back to my car.

I don’t know about you but when I have an encounter like that I get giddy.  I remember when I met each one of the families that now attend our Center.  I’ve seen that same skeptical look by mothers a thousand times.  I’ve also seen the kids that I meet through those short exchanges get plugged into our after-school and summer programs.  I’ve seen their lives change: grades improve, bad attitudes soften, and families get introduced to Jesus.  Being there at the beginning of their journey is such a precious gift that I’ll never tire of beholding.  Praying that this isn’t the last time I see these three little ones.

 
Evan Hartsell
Executive Director
Club Christ Ministries

 

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Internships @ CCM

21 Jun

Many people do not know that there are only four staff members at Club Christ Ministries. Evan our Executive Director, Kendra the Program Director and Maryann and Kendall who serve as Center Directors.  We are four people who have to wear many different hats to keep CCM going! Thankfully we have been blessed with a great Board of Directors as well as many volunteers who are ESSENTIAL to our programs success.

Alongside us are a special group of people known as “the interns.” Yes, you read that correctly, interns. You know? Those miserable group of people who are running to Starbucks for our coffee fix and have to organize our trash. We’ve got those.

I’m totally kidding. Kind of.

We do have interns, but they don’t get us coffee or anything like that (unfortunately). Instead they get a front row seat to the nuts and bolts that make CCM what it is. They sit in on staff meetings, work alongside Kendra creating new curriculum, run one of the centers alongside Kendall and Maryann.  They even get to learn from the captain of the ship, Evan. This semester we have two great interns Angela and Manuel! Angela is a high school teacher and youth leader at her church. Manuel is a youth pastor and currently on a pre-med track at UNLV.  Find out more about them below and feel free to contact us if you are interested in our internship opportunities.

 

ANGELA

image ccm angela   Which skill set(s) do you believe you bring to the team?

For the past six years, I’ve been teaching special education in a low-income, high-risk high school. As a       result, I have a lot of experience, failure, and success working with students who are significantly behind grade level in regards to their academics.   I’ve also worked with students who struggle with personal issues, anger management, and overall decision-making.

   Name one student from the center that inspires you to continue your work at CCM. 

One student who stands out the most is Karina. She always has a huge smile on her face when I walk into the Center and she always asks why I can’t just ask my boss to let me leave work early! Karina inspires me to continue my work at CCM because she looks up to me simply because I care about her. Imagine how the world would change if all kids knew there was an adult outside of their immediate family who cared about them!

 

Manuel

manuel picIn which ways do you expect to grow from this experience?

I expect to grow in various ways, many which I can’t yet imagine. Patience is an area where a lot of growth has taken place. It’s an honor to serve these children who despite all mishaps in their lives still show up with a loving and warm smile.

Name one student from the center that inspires you to continue your work at CCM. 

Ramon inspires me to continue my work for CCM. The reason being is that we are there for the kids who need help, not for the ones who already have it all together. Ramon needs a positive mentor in his life and I believe that with my help, little by little, he will develop into a successful young man.

 

Join us in welcoming our new interns and join us in prayer as we prepare to begin our Summer Adventures program!

 

1000 Words

30 Jan

As a photographer on the side, I (Kendra) am fascinated by facial epressions.  They are flickers that express more than words.  Joy. Fear. Hope. Anger. Adoration.  Each registers for an instant, but speak volumes.   It’s as if the curtain has been pulled aside and we are invited to peer into their hearts. 

As I glanced through the pictures from our most recent Christmas parties, I was awestruck by the emotions we had captured. Our students may not always have the words to express the impact we are making in their lives, but their faces tell another story.  

My favorite moment is the one of the girl looking at her gift (see below).  Amid the chaos of children ripping into their wrapping paper, she silently held her gift and smiled.  Joy, hope and excitement danced across her face.  

Thank you for making these moments possible with your support of Club Christ Ministries!

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Tough Love

15 Jan

Image    IT’S ON ME

   Sometimes I (Maryann) miss being a volunteer at CCM.  I used to watch Kendra as she had to       make the hard decisions and be the one to show the “tough love” and I used to think “Man, I’m glad I don’t have to make those calls!” Now as fate would have it I’m on the other end as a Center Director. This year I have had more confrontations than ever before. I met with a teacher about a misbehaving student, spoke to parents about their children failing in school, I confronted teenagers about using drugs and watched as God used all my efforts to make a small difference in their lives.

 

 

 

                                                   MENTORING

Being a teenager is hard but being a teenager with little or no support can be even more difficult. This year I had the opportunity to mentor a 9th grade teen girl. Although we had MANY great conversations and moments of vulnerability, I had to confront her about some of her behavior. She was furious, till this day she is not speaking to me, maybe it’s because she’s embarrassed or maybe it’s because she thought I was just another person in her life telling her

what to do. I find peace knowing that this beautiful teenage girl has someone to turn to if she needs help.  Please pray that we are able to continue our mentoring relationship and that she opens back up to me this semester.

 

The centers open back up next week! We are excited to welcome the students back and get back into the swing of things! Thank you so much for being a part of what we do at Club Christ Ministries.

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