A mild-mannered college student had the attention of about 25 children as they sat on the tile floor in an empty room with plenty of space for everyone. The overhead lights were co-opted by the morning sun pouring through the beautiful stained-glass windows. The setting; University United Methodist Church; the gig: Project Transformation. The young man was leading the kids to talk about working together even though we are all different. Using the words of St. Paul about how difficult and ridiculous it would be if the whole body were an eye — “how would we hear or talk?” he had them engaged. Once his point was made the kids were then ready to jump up for a game that would also teach the value of working together, this time adding the importance of working at communication.
University United Methodist is one of three locations for Project Transformation. The others are Bedford UMC and Meadowbrook UMC. About 60 children from underserved neighborhoods in each location get to participate in 8 weeks of all day fun, learning, and bonding with adults who care about them. Each location is led by a team of impressive college students, who have come to Fort Worth from places across the nation. One student from New England said she like it here, though “it is a little hot.” I smiled since we were having a mild by Fort Worth standards day in the mid to upper 80s.
The college students follow a well designed daily curriculum with lots of moving pieces. I was happy to talk to some of them, to see them interact with the children, and to experience again that good feeling that comes when you see people in action who want serve others. Their dedication and skill, and their easy spirits sold me on this program.
There’s room for people who are beyond college age to help out. Volunteers from FUMCFW, Gay Ingram, Caren Walker, Debbie Griffith, and Claudia Blalock participated during the month of June in the reading programs. Reading to kids is one of the great experiences of life, and the brightly lit room filled with children and adults was a testimony to that.