“Anchored deep like a tree at a riverside…
Flying in formation together…
So that all may know community…
Wow! What a summer this has been. We had seven weeks of summer school that included reading, writing, math, Bible Study, character education, computer time, art, music and recreation. The classes for the students included health and nutrition classes and yoga, as well as special visits from the youth of New Hope Church, members of the Christian rap group, TEAM Jesus, Sharon Johnson (Yoga), Donna Johnson (Character Education), Candace Chamberlain (Palmetto Health), Robert Mason (Julliard School of Performing Arts) and many wonderful (34!) volunteers, not to forget our 12 faithful staff members. The students were able to help maintain and harvest vegetables and herbs from our community garden and made several trips throughout the community to share the harvest (Walter’s Retirement Home, College Place United Methodist Church, Lenoir Rhyne University offices) and share the harvest with their families and friends. Students also shared crafts and cards with church members and others and even managed a field trip or two (Earlewood Park, the State House and a blueberry farm, in addition to the vegetable/herb deliveries.) As you can tell, there were a variety of great experiences for all those involved.
Each day began with our song and our pledge and a class meeting time where we reviewed procedures and how the previous day went. We looked at the schedule for the coming day and talked about any special events or concerns. There was also time each morning for students to share prayer requests and praises and spend time talking to and listening to God. We thanked God for our time together, for camp, for our safety and health and asked God’s blessing for the day, praying that we would learn a lot, have a good time and to be safe. We prayed for the requests that were shared, thanked God for listening to our prayers and offered praise when our prayers for individuals were answered.
After our meeting, our four groups (Abraham’s Tribe, Daniel’s Crew, The Disciples and Timothy’s Class) spent the morning in 40-minute classes with certified teachers in reading, writing and math and one or two of the other classes offered. Then there was a lunch/recess block followed by more classes in art, music, Bible Study, character education and computers. There were also several other time periods in which they could play games in one of two game rooms, read independently in our reading room or participate in special activities. The curriculum for all of our classes centered around a theme for each week (“Who Am I”, “I Am Unique”, “I Am Loved”, “I Am Loving”, “I Am Talented”, “I Am Powerful”, and “Here I Am”) with the class activities to enforce the themes and provide a foundation for our Bible Study that emphasized a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
With a total enrollment of 60 students total (every interested student in the targeted 29203 attendance zone was offered a spot – there was no final waiting list), we had an average daily attendance of 40 or 77%. This compares favorable with other summer programs. Our students ranged in age from 4 to 12, with school experiences that included Pre-K – 5th grade. The groups were set up so that students of similar age and experience were together during the day. Each group of 15 students had an adult group leader that was with them all day. This provided a high level of consistency in the environment for the students each day. In addition, we were able to pre- and post-test about twice as many students as last year and we look forward to getting the results of those tests, in order to determine the effectiveness of our program in meeting the academic needs of our students.
Our primary focus was to provide a safe environment for our students where they could receive spiritual nurturing and support for their physical, social and intellectual development through the development of a community of learners. The relationships built between the staff and volunteers and the students and between each member of the community, student and adult, and our Lord were the most important outcome of this venture. I can only say that I have been truly blessed to be a part of such a powerful program and I thank God for the opportunity and Koinonia for the support! My favorite thing on the last day was having adults and children say, “We can’t wait for next year!”
Dear Koinonia Friends,
Early this summer as I was reading one of my all time favorite authors, Richard Rohr, I was so struck by all that he had to say in several of his meditations on “Cultivating Justice.” In one, he quotes Jack Jezreel as saying this about community:
“Community is the most neglected and probably the most difficult ingredient for us to hold to in the U.S. context. And for the most obvious reasons – we have come to worship at the altar of independence, individualism and autonomy. As much as there is a deep hunger for connection, common purpose and kindred hearts, there is a merciless, deep-rooted entrenchment in the forces of competition, freedom and self-rule … When I say community, I mean that which makes very intentional commitments…we must imagine what God’s peace and justice look like on this earth and we must begin the work of crafting structures, institutions, human realities that are the antithesis to division, hate, greed and scarcity, that anticipate and cultivate justice and goodness and peace.”
I say to this a resounding, “YES!!!” THIS is Koinonia of Columbia!! This is who we are trying to be and what we are trying to do, ALL by the GRACE of our loving GOD who plants the dream of “koinonia” deep within each of us to be lived out among us! If you are a parent, donor, staff member, volunteer, connected church family or friend of Koinonia of Columbia in any way, YOU are the DREAM being lived out! It is only TOGETHER that Koinonia is possible, so it is TOGETHER that we celebrate through this newsletter.
The gratitude that lives deep in our hearts after the experience of all that God did this summer and is doing can never be fully expressed here. I hope that you have experienced this same gratitude in whatever way you have been able to connect with us whether through visits, prayers, following us on Facebook, etc. (For great summaries and pictures of all 7 weeks of the Summer Enrichment Program, check out facebook.com/EauClaire2017.)
Richard Moore, our camp director, taught the children the condensed version of the Koinonia vision. How awesome it was to hear the children recite this together!
Anchored deep like a tree at a riverside…
Flying in formation together…
So that all may know community…
Friends of Koinonia, I’m excited to share with you the two ways in which this vision is being REALIZED!
(1) First, we really are flying in formation together! Koinonia envisions itself as a bridge between the children/families of Eau Claire – AND – those who wish to invest in these children’s/families’ lives. Beyond staff, donors and volunteers who have found their way to Koinonia and will be listed next, look at this flight formation of individuals and groups offering their BEST!
- Eau Claire Baptist Church – continues to offer their space completely free of charge to children in Eau Claire all summer
- Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of SC – committed to covenant grant partnership and tremendous support throughout summer
- Lenoir-Rhyne University – shared land for the community garden
- College Place United Methodist Church – funded garden irrigation system
- Jim Berry – designed and built 8 raised garden beds with the construction team of Rico Spry, Quintrell Wright, Braquan Brealon, Gary Berry, Michael Burton, Richard Moore and Dave Strum; installed irrigation system
- Frank Brasington & Verlington Concrete – donated a dump truck-load of topsoil for all 8 garden beds and donated for 2/3 of the camp food costs
- Rev. Merianna Harrelson & New Hope Christian Fellowship – pre and post-tests for reading; youth group led character education daily during Week 2; food and other donations
- Donna Johnson, recreational therapist – taught Week 3 of character education classes with the primary goal to help children identify their strengths
- Sharon Johnson, Lutheran Seminary, and LR yoga instructor – taught weekly yoga classes for our children
- Candace Chamberlain, Palmetto Health social worker – taught weekly health lessons
- Belmont Baptist Church – donated nearly all of our summer art supplies and projects
- Kathwood Baptist Church – donated seeds, gloves and garden tools to begin our community garden and lots of school supplies for children this fall
- The Anchorage: A Contemplative Ministry – committed to praying with and for us always
- Team JESUS – Christian rap artists who helped close out the summer with a concert and inspirational message
- Robert Mason – rising Julliard School of Performing Arts guest who shared an inspirational message
(2) Secondly, we believe ”so that all may know community” happens when it becomes indistinguishable as to who is giving and who is receiving. “All” includes you and me… the dream is that ALL of us will experience Beloved Community. Our camp director taught the children a song that exemplifies this perfectly…In part, the lyrics are ”I need you and you need me, so we can live in the love of community.” That is what I hear these individuals saying:
A Donor says:
“We are so excited to be able to help with the second year of Koinonia. May God continue to guide the program and uplift so many lives. Mohammed Ali once said, ‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.’ Thanks for allowing us to pay a little rent!” (Barbara & Jim Berry)
“Children, I like to be in your presence because you are our future.” (Frieda Dortch)
“I adored all the kids. Thank you again for letting me be a part of this! It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I know you appreciated my help, too but that was nothing compared to what I got out of it.” (Jennifer Kofkee)
A grandmother and child say:
“(My grandson) Kyrhree wants a camp schedule so that they (him and his sisters) can do it at home. I thought that was awesome. You guys really made a great impact on them. They were thirsty and you guys filled them up. I so appreciate you.” (Renay Croft and Kyrhree Fleming)
An employee says:
“Thank you tremendously for the opportunity to work with Koinonia camp this summer. It was an awesome camp and an exciting summer! I learned so much about community…My future looks bright because of you! (Rev. Zina Diaz)
STAFF…WE THANK YOU!!
Danielle James (substitute)
McKenzie Ouzts (substitute)
Morgan Thompson (substitute)
* We are so grateful for the many efforts of Merianna Harrelson who developed our integrated curriculum, trained our teachers, administered pre and post tests to some of our students and served as a substitute teacher!*
VOLUNTEERS… WE THANK YOU!!
Dave & Kelly Strum
Richard & Carolyn Moore
New Hope Youth Group
* We are so grateful for the DAILY efforts of Richard and Carolyn Moore who donated every ounce of their love and devotion the ENTIRE SUMMER! Dr. Richard Moore served as our camp director. Carolyn Moore planned and prepared all of our delicious lunches with the gracious daily help of Grandma (Gwen) Finch who also hosted June and July/August birthday parties for our children and taught them how to bake zucchini bread and churn ice cream!
DONORS…WE THANK YOU!
"Thanks to a Midlands nonprofit, 60 students in the Eau Claire neighborhood are in the middle of attending a 7-week summer camp.
The nonprofit is called Koinonia, which is Greek for Christian fellowship and is partnering with Eau Claire Baptist Church to provide the camp to students from around Eau Claire at very little cost. The camp’s director Dr. Richard Moore is leading the way without getting paid a thing.
"He's working every day at no charge because we can't afford to pay the camp director,” said Sheila Washington, a board member with Koinonia. “So he has volunteered to be the camp director this summer.”
But Moore, the former Logan Elementary School principal, a 38-year educator and now Koinonia board member wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think that interaction with the kids on a daily basis, it keeps you young and it keeps you alive and moving and that's important,” said Dr. Moore."
A downloadable version of this letter is available here for printing and sharing!
Dear Koinonia Supporter,
Thank you very much for your consideration and generous donations to support the 2017 summer enrichment program provided by Koinonia of Columbia.
We respectfully request your consideration of a donation of $100 or $250 or any amount that God leads you to give to complete the 2017 Summer Enrichment Program. Kelly and I are committed to this program and future projects and will match any donation received from June 15 to July 15 up to a total of $5,000 in donation matches.
How to donate:
Either donate directly on our website at www.koinoniaofcolumbia.org
Or, you can send a check payable to Koinonia of Columbia Inc.; PO Box 30518; Columbia, SC 29230.
With our excellent staff and team of volunteers, our children receive safe, quality, loving education, meals and play. Please see our Facebook posts of the program at www.facebook.com/EauClaire2017.
The second page of this letter includes a summary of the achievements and partnerships that this first program has helped to create.
2017 Summer Enrichment Forecast Cost:
Achievements as of June 12, 2017:
- Koinonia of Columbia Inc. has received tax exempt status 501c (3) from the IRS effective retroactively to March 9, 2017 (date of incorporation).
- Partnership with Eau Claire Baptist Church provides the student facility without rent or other facility costs
- Partnership grant for $3,000 from the South Carolina Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
- Grant and total donations received of $17,260 from 31 individual donors
- An average daily attendance between 50-60 children
- Active commitment from volunteers, teachers, student teacher interns and helpers
Additional information is available at the Koinonia of Columbia website www.koinoniaofcolumbia.org
Thank you again for your generosity and commitment to invest in the children and youth of our community.
David M. Strum, Treasurer