Will Never Forget You!

Charmi PatelI am a Teen Intern for Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries every Tuesday and Thursday, since early October. While being at Kids Club, I met so many amazing children and peers, which makes it the highlight of my week. In particular, there are these two children in which I have become really close with. Every time they come to Kids Club they are always in a positive attitude, and constant energy, which always improves my mood, leaving a smile on my face. Not just those two guys, but all of the children are laughing, smiling, and interacting with one another throughout the night. There are so many things to learn from the children. The most important thing I have learned in my short time is patience.

On a Thursday night I walked into the academic support room, and sat down at a random table. I started helping a few different children at one time, but there was this one guy that I really get close with that night. As I was helping him with his homework he sort of started singing a song from one of his favorite influences. Which also happened to be one of my favorite influences as well. We finally started talking about ourselves, while working through his homework. After that night every time he saw me at Kids Club he would always run up to me, and we would strike up a conversation. When we are talking and just goofing around time always goes by so quick. He just might be one of the only people that could say the exact same thing over and over again, and it still be funny every time. At the end of the night when the Teen Interns are cleaning up, he always somehow finds me. He never leaves the building without giving me a hug.

SON Ministries is a place of HOPE where families facing poverty can come together as one.


Contagious Positivity

Kids Club Teen Intern

Carolyn HalesI am a Teen Intern for SON Ministries and every Tuesday and Thursday since late October I’ve been volunteering at Kids Club and I’ve met some awesome children and people. Kids Club is the highlight of my week. In particular, there are two little girls who are sisters and I’ve become pretty close with them. Every time they come into Kids Club they run up to me and give me a big hug. Their positive attitude, imagination and constant energy always improves my mood instantly and leaves a smile on my face. The children are always laughing and playing and have so much to say. I learn a lot from them. They’ve taught me patience and love.

There are several other children that I’ve got to spend time with and I love hearing all about them and what they like to do for fun. I’ve gotten really close with many of them and we have our own inside jokes and I know their favorite games to play. I also love helping out during our reading groups which are a great way for the children to spend time enjoying a book and improve their listening skills simultaneously. I also volunteer at the Columbus Metropolitan Library as a reading buddy, so it’s really cool to see those go hand in hand. My goal in the future is to be an English teacher and volunteering at Kids Club helped me discover how much of a special place children hold in my heart.

I’ve noticed that since coming to Kids Club, my stress levels are lower and my happiness is higher than ever. Not only does SON Ministries benefit the children it serves, but it also benefits the teens who volunteer there as well. I’ve become really close with the guys and girls I volunteer with and I’ve made several new friendships through volunteering. Overall, I would recommend volunteering in general to anyone, but especially through Kids Club. It truly is something special and I’m so grateful that I get to be apart of it.

At SON Ministries, we build up COMMUNITY one respectful, empowering relationship at a time.

Laugh and Smile

Taylor Richardson

Middle School Leader

20171017_234838544_iOSI have been with SON Ministries going on three years now, being involved with both SON Ministries Summer Lunch Program and the Family ESL Program. I started working with SON Ministries when I was a sophomore in college and I am now a graduating senior. Working with SON Ministries has completely changed my life and my life’s direction over these past three years. On the first day, I walked into a gym filled with laughing and playing children and fell in love. Over the next three years I began to understand what my passion was and fell even more in love with each of the children. Through working with SON’s mission, I understood that I wanted to work with children to create a path for success and equity in every child’s life. This is what SON Ministries cultivates and pursues. With graduation approaching in two weeks I have accepted a position with Teach for America and will be in a classroom by next school year. I am excited for my first day to walk into a classroom and fall in love with those children. Every day that I come to work I see the life changing things that SON Ministries is doing for the families in our program, but reflecting over these past three years SON Ministries has been doing equally life changing things in my own life!

This year SON has created a program specifically designed for the middle school aged children that come nightly. The middle school aged children now have their own space and time to do activities and games that are age appropriate in hopes to retain our older children involved in the program. I have had the great pleasure to work with this group of children. We have done so many exciting things in the short 4 months that we have been together. We have carved pumpkins, cooked meals together, had movie nights, played some intense soccer competitions, and other exciting games!

IMG-4892.JPGMany of the children that come to our middle school group are the oldest sibling in their families and hold many responsibilities when they are at home. One of the middle school girls that comes nightly told me during our pumpkin carving night that she was having so much fun and she isn’t usually the one that gets to have fun, her younger sibling are the ones that get to have the fun at home. That was such an eye opening and special moment for me. This middle school program specifically is so important! These children all deserve to feel like children. They deserve to laugh and smile because they are just having FUN!

At SON Ministries, we build up COMMUNITY one respectful, empowering relationship at a time.

The Capacity to Serve

Lindsay Phoenix

Winter Wear – Children’s Coat Store Leadership Team

This was our family’s second year to help at the Winter Wear coat store.  While I was IMG_6229feeling like less of a novice and really looking forward to getting everything set up to host as many families as we could, it was my own kids who might have been even more excited about the upcoming Monday nights than I was!  They remembered from last year what it was like to organize, carry, sort, move, bake, and smile for these special guests who were coming to our church.  There’s no denying Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  While I have the words to articulate this verse and understand what a privilege it is to serve others, I loved watching the purity of heart with which my kids, and the other kids from our church group manifested this innate part of our hearts.  There’s no denying the way God satisfies our hearts when we give to others.  I’m so thankful for the verse right before Ephesians 2:10 that says, “For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, ” and I’m so glad God has gifted us the capacity to serve.

I love being a part of Winter Wear in particular because of the way SON Ministries desires to preserve the dignity of the recipients of their services.  I think that’s what makes this such a great environment for our family to participate in.  There’s no chaos (except what my own 4 year old may be creating!), fear, or stigmas generated.  My kids watch people who look and sound the same and different from them be welcomed and embraced, and they find it easy to do the same.  They see kids who want to run around, find the perfect pink hat, and have a warm winter coat, just like they do.  I’m really thankful that SON Ministries has given our family this model to serve by, and that they have provided lots more kids in Hilliard the opportunity to hear “Put your coat on!” this winter.

At SON Ministries, we bring HOPE to children and families facing suburban poverty by connecting them to people, resources and a HAND-UP!

Will you forget me?

Marco Solis

Teen Intern

Marcos BlogI came on the last week of camp at HCC, I was ready to take out the trash with some other teens, as I walked outside a kid was sitting at one of the tables. I wanted to go see who he was, so I asked if my peers could take it out while I finished lunch with the kid. He was shy at first, but I kept talking to him and tried to know him. After a while he started to talk to me more than others. On Cypress Church was giving out shoes. Since I helped out with Taco Bell Jr., they gave me a pass to get shoes, I saw the child at the end of the line, confused. I asked him if he knew what was going on, he said “no”. I gave him my slip since he didn’t have time to fill one out. It took us around 30 mins but in those 30 mins I learned he likes the color blue.

On Thursday morning, he had to eat the late lunch because he was late to camp, while he was eating Trail Mix he saw it had Sunflower seeds inside so we decided to plat some just for fun and giggles. We were the only ones outside with two green shirts, as he finished eating we went inside, we had Raising Canes and watched a movie in the gym. All my friends were in a little group, I didn’t really care because we were telling jokes and not paying attention to the movie at all. Right after the movie it was close to the end of the day. I was getting a feeling in my chest, the same feeling right before you cry, the feeling that kind of hurts your chest a bit. I don’t know why I was feeling like this, maybe because he was the only friend that could make me feel like a child again, maybe the only kid that that could tell me the same jokes and it would still be funny after the 30th time. I knew sooner or later Friday would come along, we played soccer for a while.

He really loves Legos so we decided to build a house, we didn’t get very far, since it was the end of the day. Everybody had left the only people left were a couple of teens and adults. His mom came in the doors, we did our hand shake. I smiled so hard until…his mom told me they might move back to japan, my chest got the same feeling yet worse, my smile went away so fast I didn’t even notice. I bent down on my knees and asked him, “Will you forget me?” he smiled and said, “I won’t, because you signed your name on my shirt” I smiled and said, “Thank you”. We did our hand shake probably for the last time. As he left, the pain got worse and worse. Mr. Gage hugged me and asked if I wanted to ask for their email, I didn’t reply…all I could do at that point was cry, uncontrollably. I have never ridden my bike so slowly back home, as I walked into my room I told myself “my only regret is not asking for his mom’s email, and not giving him my hat”, he really did like my hat it was Batman, he really likes Batman like me. I’d like to thank SON Ministries for making this summer the best it could be.

At SON Ministries, people are our priority-RELATIONSHIPS are our goal!

Three Days at Camp

Jan Reichert

Teen Intern

As a Teen Intern, the Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries’ Hilliard Free Lunch Summer Camp for Kids has been a great experience for me as it has been an opportunity to not only get the volunteer hours needed for National Honors Society, but also to do what I love – working with children. I’m writing about the past three days (July 12 to July 14) as to me they have been the most eventful days of camp.

blog 2On July 12, the Hilliard Fire Department was kind enough to drive one of their emergency vehicles to the church and show the children everything inside. I thought this was an amazing experience for the children as they got to see what it is really like to be a firefighter, which some of the campers want to grow up and be. It was also a very fun day since they turned on the hose and let everyone run through the water. On Thursday, I got to see how “Taco Bell Jr.” desserts were made for the first time. It was a very fun experience to watch the kids work as a team to create the Oreo balls for their restaurant. It definitely helped them learn to work not only with each other but independently as well.

blog.jpgLastly on Friday, I was able to see one of the campers become an entrepreneur! She had decided to make and sell her own “slime” – an awesome idea. She let the younger kids play with it before buying it which was very generous of her. It was very cool to see someone so young decide to start their own business. Free play during the course of camp was also a favorite of mine, as all the kids are so creative in how they play games, and their drawings too. Anna decided to draw my name for me on a piece of paper – which I brought home and plan to keep. This camp was an amazing experience as I got to meet a lot of new people and spend time with kind and caring kids.

At SON Ministries, people our our priority-RELATIONSHIPS are our goal!

Never Feel Alone…

Jay Patel

Teen Intern

Resized_20170629_121633This summer I was new. This is my second year running in United States. I heard about this summer camp in Hilliard Davidson Morning summer news when school was closed in 15 days. That time I decide I want to do some fun and productive things. I filled out my application form and took interviewed with SON Ministries. Then I was good to go.

I was really nervous on first day of camp. Nobody knew me . But as time gone everybody knows me. I like to come in this camp. I am bored at home when camp is not on specific day. I ride bus with children to the camp I  meet the children in the bus and I got to know and build relationships with the children. Not only with bus riders from other children also I got to know them even though they are not come in my bus. I love to play with Kindergarten and 1st grade children. I do crafts and participate in every games and being a role model for them. Green shirts and Orange shirts are really nice and help me when I am in problem. Especially when I have trouble in speaking and understanding.

I love to drink chocolate milk , eat fruits and salads everyday. I love to play new games  like nine square and many other board games which I never played before. I was alone to come to this camp for 1 week. I encouraged my two brothers to joined this camp. They also like this  camp. one of my brother is blue shirt and one he just complete Kindergarten. This my little brother tells my family everyday what we are doing at this camp. He enjoying this camp every much. I got a chance to make a poster for Restaurant . It made me famous at whole camp. I alone made that poster at home. All was happy to see my poster. Mr. Art took some pictures and stick that poster in front door.  I was so happy that all like my poster.

On July 7,2017 I met a lady who work at Washington D.C. in White House with their team. It was my best thing ever I did in summer camp. She told her story to all of us. She is working in legislature and she visited 20 countries including my country India . She went to India for 1 week 15 days ago. She told her story about she just visited India  recently. It was a fabulous experience. (Editors Note: Congresswoman Joyce Beatty visited)

Another thing I had a chance to do lead an activity named Musical chair in brackets with little kids. For me it was hard kids wanted to do their stuff but after some time they contributed in my activity for 20 minutes . Altogether 3 orange shirts handle that activity. With that two volunteers I leaded my activity,  thanks a lot. I didn’t have that much to say but thank you SON Ministries for giving me an opportunity for volunteering. I am so happy to come at your camp and got to know many people from different cultures, countries , religions etc. I never see such a diverse place. Thanks also to staff that helped me and never feel me being alone.

At SON Ministries, we build up COMMUNITY one respectful, empowering relationship at a time.

Perfect the Way They Are

Manar Alrjub

Teen Intern

IMG_4003When I started volunteering for the first time with Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries, I was really nervous but curious at the same time. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to socialize with so many young children or I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy my summer. However, as the days went by, I became more and more comfortable. I began to look forward to come in everyday and see such bright, beautiful smiling faces. Not only that, but I’ve been able to experience such unique and unexpected events with the campers and members of SON Ministries. The main event that I’ll be focusing on is an event that really touched my heart.

On June 26th, 2017, members of a non-profit organization, IGNITE our city,  came in and notified us that we had the great opportunity to have our art featured at the Columbus Museum of Art. They had a plan for each individual camper to cut out a hand out of construction paper and decorate it in ways that represent them. Afterwards, these
hands would be put together and they would form a tree that represented this year’s
camp members. Not only did this project bring the campers together, but it also showed
our interests and our unique characteristics to all of Columbus.

I decided to share this experience because this project doesn’t only show whoIMG_4004
the campers really are but it shows what SON Ministries stands for. From the moment I stepped foot in my camp site, I instantly felt the love and the comfort that the SON
Ministries members shared. I saw bright smiles everywhere and I heard kind words being passed around. The project that we got to be involved in was created to let everyone know that they are extraordinary and that they are perfect the way they are. SON Ministries does a wonderful job spreading that message. They bring so many people together to create a camp that has so much diversity, it’s unbelievable. They let
everyone know that there is only one of each person and that’s why we are all unique. Lastly, SON Ministries makes everyone feel included. They encourage all campers and volunteers to embrace their interests and their backgrounds because that’s what makes each person special.

At SON Ministries, we see each person CREATED in GOD’s own image; each as a purpose and a voice.

Scouting Out Unique Volunteer Opportunities

IMG_5483Brennan Lancia

Teen Volunteer

While sitting in church one Sunday at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (UALC), I saw a video about Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries. They were talking about their English as a Second Language (ESL) program and looking for volunteers to help out on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I was also at the point in Scouting where I was looking for ideas for my Eagle Scout Project. When I saw the video I immediately wanted to go and check out the program to see what SON Ministries was all about. I started to volunteer every Tuesday and Thursday night helping the kids in the program with their homework and reading along with playing games, shooting hoops and just having fun keeping active with the kids. While I was there I started to realize that the people at SON Ministries were in need of some fun indoor/outdoor activities for the kids along with some type of cart to store and bring things up and down from where they stored everything. I thought that making some of these things that they needed would be highly appreciated, so I started to plan out my Eagle Scout project around these needs.

Pic 3With the storage cart and games in mind I needed to find a way to raise money for these items I wanted to make for them. My thought was based on how much money I raised I would build a rolling cart for storage, a giant outdoor Jenga set and a 9 Square game for them. To raise money for the project I started to collect books that I would then take to Half Price Books store in exchange for money and use towards my supplies. In order to get the word out about collecting books I made fliers and handed them out in my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods around where I live. I also had my Mom post on Facebook and shared with my Scout troop and made an announcement at my FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) meeting at school. I received a great response and started to gather the books and hand them in for cash. The more books I collected, the more things I could make and get for SON Ministries.

I was able to reach my fundraising goal and provide all three items; the rolling cart, the Giant Jenga and the 9 Square game. With a team of scouts we cut the wood, assembled it, added wheels and stained the cart. The 9 square game required me to cut the PVC piping, glue and build the frame work. I had enough money to purchase a wheeled trash bin to store all of the piping in when the game needs to be stored or transported. I was also able to purchase a Giant Jenga set with a storage bag that the children will be able to set up in different locations easily; inside or outside.

SON Ministries had their 10th Anniversary Summer Camp Celebration in June and I was able to bring my completed Eagle Scout project; help set up the outdoor games and enjoyed playing with everyone there. Everyone loved it! They all had so much fun playing with everything.

I want to thank everyone at SON Ministries for giving me the opportunity to have fun and also be able to complete my Eagle Scout Project.  I will continue to volunteer for this great organization!

Note from Editor: At SON Ministries, one of our core missions is to come alongside the community as they serve their neighbors. Brennan’s story is a great example of someone bringing their own, unique skills to the table to support our programming in a different, fun way. Do you have a great idea? Come to us, we are dream catchers for our volunteers as well as the children we serve!


Volunteer Empowerment

Tara McConaughy

Kid’s Club Leader

We could not do what we do at Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries without the volunteer-impact.jpgwonderful support from volunteers. As the Kid’s Club Leader for the Family ESL Program this year, I have had the wonderful opportunity to see volunteer empowerment in action first hand on many occasions!

Here are just a few examples:

One rainy evening, the younger children had to stay in the “quiet room” while the middle school children were playing a game in the gym. Needless to say, some of the younger boys were dying to play ball sports in the gym. To solve this problem, one of our teen volunteers helped the boys set up a bowling game with cones and a basketball. The boys were so engaged, they forgot they even wanted to play in the gym!

One of our regular volunteers has a passion for creative writing. Over the course of a month, she spent time with each grade level teaching them about creative writing, giving each child their very own notebook, and helping each grade write AMAZING stories together. After her time with each grade, there were always a few children who decided to spend the rest of their evenings working on a story of their own!

We were blessed by two sisters who volunteered to start a children’s choir that met every Tuesday during Kids Club. They used their talents to engage 10 young ladies of all ages in learning songs to perform for our end of the year talent show.

What little girls don’t love to dance? This spring, a volunteer came to us who is a dance teacher by day… and she allowed us to use her as a dance teacher by night, too! She lead children through stretches, drills, skills, and even taught a dance routine to many of our young ladies!

Through all of this, the volunteers were using their own gifts, talents, creativity, and passions to serve through building relationships with children. What is your gift? What is your passion? How can you come alongside us to build relationships with children in need?

At SON Ministries, we build up COMMUNITY one respectful, empowering relationship at a time. 

For information about volunteering, e-mail info@SON-Ministries.org.