Category Archives: volunteer

Who Has Time to Volunteer?

Who has time to volunteer? Well, Matt, Jerome, Cydnee, Sam and Maggie do!

Have you ever wondered what a SCYM afterschool volunteer looks like? We asked a few of our new and returning afterschool volunteers about their experience. They gave some great responses!

Matt Rugh: Matt is a retired middle school principal and current youth director at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church. Matt’s starting his second year as a driver for Manpower Afterschool Program.

Jerome Vinson: Jerome is a realtor with Real Estate II. You’ve probably seen his name! This fall he started volunteering with STARS after school at High Street Nazarene.

Cydnee Gaines, Sam Watson, and Maggie Mullens: These three are students at Wittenberg University. They may be new to Springfield, but that hasn’t stopped them from jumping into their community.

 

Interested in joining these guys? We’ve still got places for you to serve kids, including:

BIZ BA$ICS: Mon or Tues 4:00-6:00pm; Wed 3:00-4:30pm. Tuesday help needed urgently!

DRIVERS: Tuesdays 3:45-4:00

BACKUP DRIVERS: Mon, Tues, Wed, or Thurs 3:45-4:00

STARS friends/homework helpers: Mondays 3:00-5:30 or any portion you can come

Email us at SCYMinistries@gmail.com or call (937)325-6183 to get connected!

 

 

2017 Camp Boost Registration is Now Open!

Registration for Camp Boost Summer Reading Clubs is now open! Camp Boost is free for any child age 4 through 5th grade completed (entering 6th grade). We’ve got a great lineup of clubs that will make reading fun, along with games, activities, breakfast and lunch, and learning from the Bible.

Camp Boost at Maiden Lane, June 26-30, 10:00-1:00: REGISTRATION CLOSED…thanks for a great week!

Camp Boost at High Street Nazarene, July 10-14, 9:00-12:30: REGISTRATION CLOSED…thanks for a great week!

Camp Boost at Clifton Avenue Church of God, July 17-21, 10:00-1:00: REGISTRATION CLOSED… thanks for a great week!

Camp Boost at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, July 24-28, 9:00-12:00: ONLINE REGISTRATION CLOSED … camp is full!

Want to join the Camp Boost team? We need teachers, classroom assistants, food team, registration help, and more! Learn more about getting involved with Camp Boost this summer.

Questions? Call the SCYM office at (937) 325-6183 or email scyministries@gmail.com

“I hope that I can be a positive role model to these guys”

ManPower volunteers gather each week to encourage middle school boys and teach them about what it means to be a Godly man. Here’s what some of them had to say about their time at ManPower:

“I am encouraged seeing these kids become men. My hope for as the guys are getting ready to go into high school is that they are maturing and becoming leaders in and out of the classroom and setting an example for others.” -Eli Worley

“The biggest impression that I have been given is that this is a humbling experience and all these guys are willing to listen.” -Teddy Price

A huge thank you to the Phi Psi fraternity at Wittenberg University, who have been a fantastic support to Manpower. These guys are incredible leaders with big hearts for the community!

ManPower is open to the community! If you’d like to get involved, email Tyler at scyministries@gmail.com.

What Went Down this Fall at SCYM (The Story of the Awesome Whirlwind)

Somehow we blinked, and it was December. You’ve probably been saying to yourself, “Why isn’t SCYM following their usual pace of blog posts about kids in Springfield, that I’ve grown to enjoy so much?” No doubt as you settle in with a cup of good coffee, maybe a peppermint mocha, and click our URL to check the latest news, it’s been a sad and disappointing experience.

OK, OK, you haven’t done any of those things. You had no idea that we were backlogged on blogging (backblogged?) until just now. For that matter, we’re backed up on email newsletters too, although there’s no catchy word for that.

But there’s a cool story about why we’re backblogged. Now would be a good time to grab that mocha, and settle in for a good read.

In mid-to-late August, Springfield kids go back to school. You see them traipsing around in the morning and afternoon, with their backpacks, maybe getting on the bus. For SCYM, August is ramp-up time – getting flyers out to families and schools, recruiting new and returning volunteers, planning schedules for the semester, talking with church partners, and gearing up for the start of four afterschool programs at twelve sites – one of which was new. By mid-September, STARS, GirlPower, Manpower, and Biz Ba$ics were ready to go.

Let’s pause right here. To be honest, we never know what’s going to happen next. We don’t know which kids are going to return or sign up for the first time, whether we’ll have exactly the number of volunteers we have on the right days, or exactly how it’s all going to work out. You get everything ready, you do the work, you pray a lot, and then you wait and see what happens.

Unpause. Here’s what happened next: We had an influx of kids, new and returning. A deluge, a flood, an overflow. (Thanks, thesaurus.com.) We broke every record for enrollment at every program, if we were keeping track. We had to split one of our sites into two groups so that we didn’t have to turn away 20 kids.

You may have already seen this chart in our newsletter, but this is what the last three years have looked like for SCYM afterschool programming (not counting Camp Boost, mentoring, or Wise Guys):

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But here’s the thing. Even though this chart tells a great story that’s got us giving thanks to God, serving in an afterschool program doesn’t look like a chart. It looks like this:

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That number 234? That’s 234 faces, 234 Springfield kids who have names and families and stories. 234 Springfield kids who have a safe place after school, someone who knows them and loves them, new opportunities, and stronger relationships. And hope. Most of all, hope.

Some of these 234 have experienced enormous obstacles – a parent who’s addicted or in prison, homelessness, violence on their street. Some are struggling. Some are doing OK. All of them need a friend.

We are grateful for each and every one of our kids, and for every volunteer and donor and cheerleader and partner who is on the team to serve them.

All together, we’ve served 581 Springfield kids together in 2016 – more than any year since we started in 1998. That’s WE – you, SCYM volunteers, staff, and everyone who’s rallied around these kids with the belief that they matter.

So maybe you’ve already finished that coffee. Thanks for reading the story of Fall 2016, what we now call “Growth Spurt Fall.” There’ve been more than a few growing pains: We’ve had to scramble for drivers, and make a lot of appeals for new volunteers. Our staff and volunteers have stretched more than we probably would have liked.  But we hope you give thanks to God with us for the growth.

Because we don’t doubt for a second that these kids are worth it.

Find the gold in Springfield kids this fall

If you’re like me, watching the Summer Olympics gives you all the feels: Athletes who’ve trained all their lives for this moment, parents and friends who’ve been by their side cheering them on, moments of glory and heartbreak, an athlete standing on the podium listening to their national anthem. We love it not just for the athletic skill, but for the story each individual has.

Dick’s Sporting Goods made this commercial that our staff really loved. It captures those Olympic moments and the potential inside us all. Take a look:

Even though this is just a commercial, it captures a vital truth: There is gold in every one of us, put there by our Creator. (We had no idea about the physical gold, though – that’s just cool.)

There’s gold in Springfield kids, too. The problem is that many of them don’t recognize it in themselves. Sometimes it takes someone else to recognize our gold and help us dig it out.

The best way to help a kid find their gold? Show up for them week after week, get to know them, and let them get to know you. That’s SCYM’s heart. This fall we have four different afterschool programs each week, at multiple locations, that are wonderful opportunities to get to know kids in our city who are just waiting for someone to help them find their gold. How will you help?

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Kids and trauma: What I wish my 21-year-old self had known

His name was James. He was about 8 years old, with a rattail haircut and an attitude. (If you don’t remember the ‘80s or ‘90s, you really should google “rattail haircut”.)

I was 21, fresh out of college, and volunteering with my church’s Vacation Bible School. I couldn’t tell you exactly what led up to that moment. (Did I mention this was a long time ago?) But there I was on a beautiful Vermont summer day, hanging out on the church’s porch with James, trying to talk some sense into an unruly kid.

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I do have a general sense of what had happened before that: James was disruptive. He didn’t want to listen to the teacher. He was angry. He took it out on the other kids. He probably didn’t want to be at VBS at all. It was best for everyone to give him a time-out with me outside.

To my 21-year-old credit, I did at least a few things right: I looked him in the eye, sat down on the ground so I wouldn’t tower above him. I knew his name. I gave him my undivided attention. I didn’t yell. (At least I don’t think I did.) I probably talked to him about choices and consequences.

But I wish I had known some things back then.

I remember feeling like if I just said the right words, the light bulb would come on for James and he would change. I wish I had known that motivational speeches to kids in those situations are mostly a waste of breath. (I mean, you have to say something; it might as well be motivational. Just don’t expect it to do much.)

Mostly, I wish I had known about trauma. I wish I had known that 9 times out of 10, you don’t act the way James did that day if your life has been great.

I have no idea whether James had experienced trauma, but looking back I’d say there was a pretty good chance he’d had a significant loss or traumatic experience, like a parent in prison, abuse, loss of someone significant, violence in his home.

I wish I had known how trauma affects a child’s brain: That their thinking and processing abilities can’t develop correctly, because their brain is fighting so hard to protect their body and their heart. That they’re not being disobedient the way we may see it; their brain simply can’t control the impulses to meet their basic needs.

I wish instead of mustering up a motivational speech, I’d just asked some simple questions.

“You seem upset. What’s wrong?”

“Are you sad about anything?”

“Mad about anything?”

I wish I’d had something simple like a soccer ball to kick back and forth, something repetitive and calming, until James was ready to talk or go back inside. I wish I’d known that that experience – if I’d handled it better – might have been just as important to James as any lesson going on inside the building.

I wish I’d known that even though we didn’t have social work experience or fancy titles, our little church had some of the most important instruments of healing to offer a kid who’d been through trauma: Unconditional love. Safe people. Fun. Hope.

I wish I’d known that the disruptive kid who throws a wrench into our carefully planned program may be the kid who needs us the most.

I never knew James’ family or even his last name, so this is all hindsight guessing. But even though this was many years ago, I know without a doubt that Jameses are coming through many church doors today on a regular basis.

Church: I’m challenging us to stretch a little, and begin to understand trauma. Our schools, police, courts, hospitals and more are learning about trauma, and we can too. I know, in the church we like to talk about the heart and spirit more than we talk about the brain, but God made them all and we can learn.

Springfield: Trauma affects so many kids in our city. From growing up in a violent neighborhood, to parent abandonment, to family addiction, to death of a loved one, there are potentially traumatic experiences happening to our kids daily. We need to understand how trauma may affect them, and what we can do to help.

It’s as simple as this: Focusing on what’s happened to the person, instead of what’s wrong with them. Getting to the root of the hurt that’s happened, instead of just handing out punishment.

There’s a great team of folks working on something called trauma-informed care here in Springfield, and you can expect to see more resources coming in the days ahead. We will do our best to bring them to you and help you understand how they affect churches helping kids.

There is hope for children who’ve been through trauma! And Church, we can offer that hope as we respond with love, compassion, sensitivity, and wisdom.

Faith Bosland
Executive Director

What if you gave one week to your city this summer?

Did you know that a child who can read at grade level by the third grade is unlikely ever to be involved in the criminal justice system?

And did you know that reading just six books over the summer is enough to keep most kids on track in their reading level?

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Last question: What if you gave one week this summer to give Springfield kids a summer reading boost?

Join Team SCYM this summer at one of three Camp Boost Summer Reading Clubs:

July 11-15, 9:00am-12:30pm @ High Street Nazarene
July 25-29, 10:00am-1:00pm @ Clifton Avenue Church of God
July 25-29, 9:00am-12:00pm @ St. John Missionary Baptist Church

Teachers, classroom assistants, registration and food helpers are all welcome to volunteer – anyone who loves kids! There is a place for you. Watch the video below to learn more!

To get involved, just email or call the SCYM office at SCYMinistries@gmai.com or (937)325-6183. We’d love to get you plugged in serving kids! Volunteer trainings begin in June.

How to register for Camp Boost 2016!

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Registration for Camp Boost Summer Reading Clubs is now open! Camp Boost is free for any child age 4 through 5th grade completed. We’ve got a great lineup of clubs that will make reading fun, along with games, activities, breakfast and lunch, and learning from the Bible.

Camp Boost at High Street Nazarene, July 11-15, 9:00-12:30. Closed — thanks for a great week!!

Camp Boost at Clifton Avenue Church of God, July 25-29: Click here to register

Camp Boost at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, July 25-29: Click here to register

Want to join the Camp Boost team? We need teachers, classroom assistants, food team, registration help, and more! Learn more about getting involved with Camp Boost this summer.