Churches unite to help students with STEM Camp

Churches unite to help students with STEM Camp
August 06
00:00 2015

In above photo: Children on are on a field trip at Reynolda Gardens. (Submitted Photo)

Special to The Chronicle

Six-year old Hansumm McCcoy was clearly overjoyed when he succeeded in building a robotic truck.

Using the computer, he demonstrated his ability to control its movements, the wheels and bed for hauling.

Hansumm is one of several children who participated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Camp housed at Saints Home United Methodist Church this summer.

The program, funded with a special grant from the Western North Carolina conference of the United Methodist Church, targeted children in grades 1-5.

Saints Home church is at 1390 Thurmond Street near Cook Elementary School.

The church was delighted to open its doors and to oversee operation of the program.

United Methodist volunteers from area churches and others, including VISTA workers, banned together to offer various educational services to participating youth and their parents/guardians.

Services offered included instruction and tutoring in reading and math.

Learning experiences were also provided in gardening, science and robotics.

Ola Murrell, a local teacher, drove the church van each day to ensure that transportation was not an obstacle in getting to and from the camp.

Then she would switch hats and teach reading.

Many of the children participating in the program reside in the Cleveland Avenue Homes neighborhood and expressed the delight in having access to the program because of the available transportation services.

Joyce Irby, a local science teacher with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools system, worked with the youth in science, technology and robotics.

Under her guidance, children were elated to launch rocket balloons, get a feel for aero-dynamics by flying paper airplanes, observe seeds grow and explore the field of robotics.

The science component of the program emphasized hands-on-experience coupled with meaningful instructions.

D. Renee Wilkins, who enjoys working with young people and others, joined the team of volunteers to assist in math, while Jessica Harris a reading specialist, oversaw assessments for the youth.

Sessions on healthy eating habits were provided to participating youth and their parents/guardians.

Bridget Hochwalt, a VISTA volunteer and nutritionist, spoke on healthy eating while sharing samples of various foods during special activities.

Also, field trips that introduced a variety of plants to the students were provided.

These trips included time at Reynolda Gardens and the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens in Kernersville.

Saint Paul and Saints Home United Methodist churches provided their vans to carry out this aspect of the program.

Phyliss Harrell Vaughn, a volunteer from St. Paul United Methodist Church, expressed her delight in helping the program by driving one of two vans used to transport the youth.

The participating youth were provided two meals and a healthy snack during their participation in the program.

Dianne McThompson Coleman, another volunteer, talked about her role in assuring that the children received their food in a timely and loving manner. Just as God has blessed us, we need to bless others.

She added that it was most rewarding to assist in carrying out the program.

Other volunteers who helped to ensure the success of this endeavor included Tyler Gaither, Linda Richardson, Martha Jo Campbell, Albertia Williford, Barbara Cuthrell, Jacqueline January, Marjorie Arnold, Carolyn Payne, Yvonne Wingfield and David Wilson.

Mary Catherine Willis was joined by Jeannene Caesar to assist in program monitoring and/or program evaluation.

When asked what he would say about the program, Pastor Ronnie Roseboro of Saints Home Church replied, “One word says it all: amazing.”

Pastor Roseboro further stated that he was blessed by interacting with the youth each day in a morning devotion session.

By the end of the third and last week of the program, a group of young people was able to recite the Lord’s Prayer on their own.

Although the camp came to a close on Friday, July 17, follow-up services will be available to the youth throughout the up-coming school year.

This mission initiative was undertaken with input and/or involvement of four area United Methodist churches involved in a missional network.

These churches are Saint Home, Saint Paul, St. Andrews and Green Street.

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