Faith in Depth Christian Center in Conway has been a home to community youth this summer. Daily, the church is open to area children between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Free of charge, 30 children, ages five through 18, have attended the Center’s Summer Youth Program during typical business hours.
"We have the same kids all summer long," Pastor Terry Walker said. "All summer, not just a week."
Walker said this was the fourth year the Center has been open for the youth program.
"It was on my heart to try and keep the kids in the community busy during the summer. Parents need help with kids. Not all of them can afford day care and that’s money they can save," Walker said.
Alma Ingraham, assistant director of the summer program said, "Any children in the community can come as long as they are within those ages. Anyone who is black, white, blue or purple. We don’t care."
Children have snacks and lunch at the church each week day.
Walker said the program survives on donations from participants, church members and "people off the street."
According to Walker, it is not uncommon for an unknown person to leave fresh fruit and other food items for the children.
Hannah Ingraham, 13, of Conway is a program participant. Ingraham said her parents work during the day and if she didn’t go to the Center each day, she’d probably stay at home and play video games. She said she would be alone more and enjoys being with her friends at Faith in Depth Christian Center.
Walker said an important element of the program is the schedule of activities designed around teaching children the importance of following instruction.
"We have activities today to enhance their ability to follow instruction. It also helps with overall behavior," Walker said. "We’re also strongly bible-based. We start each morning with prayer."
Walker said the Center’s main mission is to affect the nearby community.
"It’s our goal to go beyond these walls of the church. We shouldn’t be here if we’re not doing that. The greatest way is by helping with their kids."
Walker said the Center will extend its youth outreach by integrating volunteer-based tutoring and after school programs when school begins.
"We hope to add on to our facility. We’ll be asking for volunteers and donations to do that project. We want to expand to make room for a play area for the kids and more classrooms for our tutoring and after school outreach."
Faith in Depth Christian Center is located at 1174 Markham St. in Conway. The summer program works on a first come, first served basis.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)