The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Apostolic program keeps kids active through the summer

  • The Apostolic Church of God Summer Youth Program is in the second year and going strong.
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  • The Apostolic Church of God Summer Youth Program is in the second year and going strong.
    This program, organized by the Apostolic Church of God in Harrisburg, is providing a faith-based service for the youth of our area. Pastor Ronald Williams and Youth Group Leader Ella Kelly on Tuesday brought the group to Harrisburg East Side School’s free summer lunch program to eat and to celebrate a birthday.
    On Mondays and Tuesdays every week, the church provides a safe, fun and educational setting for young people from 5 to 15 years of age.
    “The parents are very pleased with our youth group,” Kelly said. “Pastor Ronald Williams picks the kids up beginning at 7 a.m. and we feed them breakfast at 7:30. Then the fun starts for them.”
    The young people get a stimulating morning of Bible study, an activity outing every day to sites in our area of historic or intellectually challenging interest or sometimes just plain fun like a trip to the pool in Harrisburg. Lunch follows and they are taken home in the air-conditioned church bus, with Williams — former Saline County Sheriff’s Deputy — at the wheel.
    “We let them watch the popular ‘VeggieTales’ videos and couple that in Bible study with more education about the figures in the Bible,” said Williams. “I taught a class on safety, oriented around how to be safe in situations involving strangers, basic do's and don'ts to help the children learn to be safe. The main thing is to provide a safe, fun, faith-based way for the young people to spend some of their time in the summer.”
    Kelly expressed her thanks to the many individuals, business and organizations that have helped make the program such a success.
    “First of all, I want to thank the parents for trusting the church with their children,” Kelly said. “They get the kids ready for us to start picking them up at 7 in the morning and I know how hard that can be in the summer. Without the parents cooperation and support, this program wouldn't happen.”
    Kelly expressed appreciation to the organizations and business that have provided support for the youth program. Kelly mentioned The Harrisburg Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Public Library, Police and Fire Departments and the Bill Trees Memorial Park Pool, stating that she felt that these organizations went out of their way to help the youth group.
    “Today, the pool manager has set aside time for the kids to swim and McDonald's is letting the kids order anything they want free off the menu after the swim. I think that shows a true spirt of community and giving,” she said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Williams and Kelly thank the Williamson County Historical Society and Museum for setting aside time for the group to visit and added a heartfelt thank-you to the individuals — many from the church — who have donated their time and money to the program.
    “Without them, we could not go ahead with our program,” Kelly said.
    “We wanted to help the community and the members of the church really came together and helped us get this done. It is a group effort and if I forgot to mention anyone, please don't think your effort was not appreciated.”
    Kelly went on to say that the children have been having a great time and have been very well behaved and polite.
    “We always have room for more and we want to encourage all of the parents and children to participate in our group.” Kelly said.
    The youth program runs from 7 a.m. to a little after noon June 16 to July 16. The program can be joined at any time. Those interested may to contact the Apostolic Church of God in Harrisburg at 618-252-7151 or visit the church on any Sunday.
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