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.

Outreach Multiplied

Sarah Florimonte

Development and Communications Associate

IMG_2761Last Thursday, we put out a simple call out on Facebook, “IMMEDIATE NEED: We are in need of a light meal tonight for the children at the Family ESL Program! If you or your group can provide, please e-mail info@SON-Ministries.org. Thank you!”. This was new for Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries and was prompted by one of our new goals at the Family ESL Program this year: feed all the children at the program a light meal. We have learned that many children show up with the Family ESL Program without having eaten dinner; due to a variety of reasons. We also know that learning is harder on an empty stomach.

Throughout the year, many partners have stepped in to help us with this. The Junior League of Columbus- Kids in the Kitchen, Chick-fil-A Market of Hilliard, Amlin Methodist Church and others have all stepped in and provided dinner In addition to groups, many individuals stepped in brought bread, meat and milk. But this Thursday, we had a blank on our calendar.

Within ten minutes, we got a message. “How many children are there that need a light meal tonight and would pizza be acceptable? Larry Perman.”. “Yes! Pizza is acceptable and about 100 children!”, was our quick answer.

That night, 25 cheese pizzas showed up at the door of the Family ESL Program. Not only were we able to feed the children that night; we were able to feed the adults. The smiles on their faces were infectious. The central staff was smiling for a different reason; none of us knew Larry. We wondered, how did Larry hear about SON Ministries? Why was he even following us on Facebook if he had never been involved? At SON Ministries we like to say, “People are our priority-RELATIONSHIPS are our goal!” How is it even possible someone gave us such a blessing that we had never crossed paths with? So, we asked..

“…Someone from your ministry spoke at New Hope Church several months ago and we were so impressed with the outreach to these families… I have SON on my Facebook account and felt led to provide the pizza when I saw the need yesterday…God Bless, Larry”

This response was a blessing to us that God is leading people to our ministry through the outreach we engage in to reach those who can help in addition to those we can serve. Thank you, Larry for your encouragement in all of our outreach and thanks for the pizza!!

Please DONATE TODAY to support SON Ministries’ year-round programming.



By Lydia Dunn, Assistant Recess Leader Kid’s Club

Over the course of the past three years working with SON Ministries, many “truths” about children and people have been solidified through different interactions. Namely, all people want to be loved. All people want to be accepted. All people want to feel happy.

Recently, another “truth” was set in stone before my eyes and heart. All people want to feel needed. All people want to have a purpose.

Sometimes children struggle when they first arrive to Kid’s Club as it has been a long day at school, work, etc., and they want the comfort of their family. A young boy was struggling in particular. I was blessed to watch him gradually open up and become more comfortable, walking in the doors with a smile instead of tears. However, he still was not acting fully “present” and I was determined to figure out what would make him grin from ear to ear.

Through some experimentation, I discovered that the young boy needed a task. He wanted to help pass out the hand sanitizer in preparation for snack. Later, when he saw the need to clean-up from snack, he jumped at the opportunity. This boy needed to feel needed. Like all of us, he desperately wants to make a positive impact on others around him.

I made a little acronym for the word “purpose”:blog








What do I mean by this? Simply, having a purpose means that you understand how incredibly important what you are doing is to a larger picture.

To countless incredible volunteers at all of the programs of SON Ministries, I am here to tell you that you are needed! We love you and hope that you are filled with a purpose when you walk through our doors.

To our parents and children, you too are needed! We learn as much from you as we are teaching (sometimes we learn even more)!

I am continually blessed by how each individual (staff, volunteer, parent, or child) comes together to make SON Ministries a place of love and fulfillment.

handsAt SON Ministries we see every person created in God’s own image: each has a PURPOSE and a VOICE.

Tick Tock

By Rachel Vallette

Teen Intern 2014/15

Paid Staff 2015/16, 2016/17

“Baby Room” Family ESL Program


Tick Tock Tick Tock

We are all trying to soak in the last few minutes of calm before the door opens and chaos begins. I am laying on the floor looking at the fluorescent lights. The room is set up, clean and ready to go.  That is the last time we will see the floor for the night.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

There is a knock at the door and they all come flooding in. Children already crying, some ready to run and others still resting their eyes from the car ride.  A mom passes me her child, her baby and I can see the fear in her eyes. The fear of leaving her child with someone she doesn’t know and who does not speak her language. I start to bounce and won’t stop until I hand the baby back to his mom in three long hours. I hear a crash and whip my head around. The other kids have already gone and emptied the baskets of toys.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

I look at the clock and it’s only seven. There is screaming in my ear. I have to make two bottles, get tissues, and read a book, all while bouncing. Non stop bouncing. The next two hours  I am moving nonstop but time moves very slowly. Throughout the night I barely sit down. I run from child to child trying to care for their every need.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Four bottles made,  nine diapers changed,  five tears wiped,  ten books read, and many songs sung.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

The floor is no longer in sight.  Toys are spread out everywhere. As I walk to the next child still holding the first in my arms bouncing for his comfort, I trip on yet another block. There are cheerios on the floor after falling out of little hands. It’s loud, it’s crazy, and I love it.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Parents are starting to come back from class. One mom opens the door and the children all start to cry. We move as fast as we can getting each child back to their mother and telling mom about the night. There are many smiles and everyone is happy.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

The night is over. All the babies are gone. It is now time to clean, and we all move as fast as we can. In no time at all the room is clean and the lights are off. We close the door to a now quiet room. It will be waiting for us for another night.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

My job is the best part of my week. It’s crazy and it’s loud but the people are amazing. I have learned so much being there. I admire these mothers who know little English and have never left their baby. They are handing over their prize possession to me, so they can go to class and learn English and have a better life. It is the best feeling.  At the end of the year I get to see these moms who now know English.  We now have a relationship and a community. The smiles on the faces at the end of the night will always have an imprint on my heart.

Tick Tockimg_7760


Sharing the Nativity…


SON Ministries’ Staff

img_2270On the final night of Kids Club before break, we had the opportunity to share the beautiful Nativity at UALC The Church at Mill Run with the children.The Nativity is originally from Italy, is life sized and a true work of art.

Thank you to David White of UALC for coming to be a special guest with the children. David said, “(It was) tremendous fun and God was on the move.The volunteer and staff team did a great job and the children were very inquisitive.Thank you for the invitation.”


SON Ministries: We build up COMMUNITY one respectful, empowering relationship at a time.