Monthly Archives: June 2013

Baby Mine

Baby Mine

This week the 3rd-5th graders where given the opportunity to do something that was bigger then themselves. They were given hard boiled eggs that they could decorate and name. If they could keep their egg from getting broken for three days they would get a prize. The kids had a blast and learned how to care for things beyond just themselves.


This summer is my second summer working with Son Ministries and the Hilliard Free summer lunch program. Over the past two summers I have grown to love all the kids, and the relationships I have built have been priceless. Last year one of the campers and I had an almost daily conversation where her teacher, one of the teens or I would basically beg her every day to eat any part of her lunch for a ticket. This year however when she returned, I was prepared for “if you eat your banana I will eat mine!” or “If you eat your fruit cup I’ll give you a ticket” and so on. Then in the first week the food of the day was pineapple, my personal favorite food. I walked over to her lunch table. I watched as she prepared to put her food into the “Share cooler” when I stopped her and explained that pineapple was my favorite food and begged her to try just one bite. Sure enough she loved it. While the rest of her food still ended up in the share cooler that day she had 3 other pieces of pineapple, which is easily, the most food she has eaten over the past two summers. About a week later pineapple was in the lunches again and this time without any type of prodding she sat right next to the share cooler and waited for people to bring their pineapple so that she could eat it and excitedly at the end of lunch told me she had had 4 slices of pineapple. While this may not seem like much it easily made my entire week. After trying the pineapple she has also started to try a few new things. Today at lunch she ate an entire chicken sandwich and almost every day this summer has finished at least one item in her lunch, which is a remarkable improvement from last summer.

What’s My Job?

Whew.  Let me take a minute to introduce myself and my organization.  I’m Ryan Max, a student at Miami University, and this Summer I am working as the Program Coordinator for SON Ministries’ Hilliard Free Summer Lunch for Kids.  In a nutshell, we provide a healthy breakfast and lunch to the children in the Hilliard area that receive a free or reduced lunch during the school year.  My first week here has shattered that nutshell.  This is about so much more.

“People are our priority, relationships our goal.”  I’ve heard this phrase many times in my first week, and it sounds like a fine mantra.  But it is much more meaningful when I can see the way the camps exemplify this firsthand.  We’re trying to build a community environment that many of the children we serve do not get to experience outside of the four hours they spend at our “Summer Camp”.

In my role as Program Coordinator I travel to three of the Hilliard lunch sites throughout the week, spending a day or two helping implement programming at each before moving on to a different group of kids and a different set of staff.  In five days, it’s incredible to see how strong the sense of community has already been developed at the sites.  Each site has its own personality and its own rhythm.

Fire Dept

Norwich Township Fire Department visits a Hilliard Free Summer Lunch for Kids site

Every day is a whirlwind of games, art, science and food; a delicate balance of planning and chaos.  Basketball, jump rope, water guns, parachutes, fire trucks, kites, Soccer games, Dodgeball, homemade flags, daily skits, board games, books, gardens, restaurant planning, dozens of volunteers, hundreds of kids.

I don’t think anything could sum up the passion and goal of SON Ministries and the Summer Lunch program better than the call and response that I witnessed at one of our lunch sites this week.

Site Leader: “What’s my job?”
Children: “To love us!”
Site Leader: “And what’s your job?”
Children: “To love each other!”

That’s the new nutshell.

by Ryan Max, Columbus Foundation Summer Fellow

Water Day!

SAMSUNG  HCC Grace 060

Friday June 14, 2013Water day!  One of the FAVORITE things for the children is water day.  We bring out hoses, sprinklers, water balls and squirt bottles and we all get WET! Nothing says summer like playing in a sprinkler.  The smiles on the children’s faces says it all.  Sometimes we’ll add shaving cream to the water day…good CLEAN fun!