Religious group seeks to make a difference in community

The kids do arts and crafts during their Saturday sessions with Kidz Xtreme.

Religious group seeks to make a difference in community
April 25
03:30 2019

When a group comes into a community once or twice a year, it leaves a good memory, but to really make a difference, you must be there consistently. That idea is exactly what Kidz Xtreme had in mind and for the last seven years, they have been a constant presence in underprivileged communities.

Kidz Xtreme is a program for elementary school age children. Their purpose is to teach the kids who they are in Christ, along with looking for gracious Christian men and women who demonstrate positive parenting, according to organizers. The program was founded by Stu Epperson and Jackie Pegram.

Every weekend and a few weekdays, the volunteers from Kidz Xtreme visit the Rolling Hills and Cleveland Avenue communities to give back to the kids, along with sharing the Word. They also provide a snack, a meal and toys for the kids.

“Every week, we do kind of like a mini vacation Bible school,” said Ron Pegram, Kidz Xtreme national director.  “As you can see here, we have crafts, games outside, and then we will come inside and hear a message.

“All those aspects of a family are the things we are trying to create. We come at least 48 out of 52 weeks in a given year, so this is an every weekend thing. We are also here during the week some as well. We try to be consistent, approachable and available to everyone,” Pegram explained.

“We are engaging the kids, so we know them and they know us, that’s why it has to be consistent,” Pegram continued. “We are so glad that people will come in with the food trucks and bikes, but a lot of people just come in once a year. We take a different approach and we thank them for what they are doing, but essentially these are our kids because we know them and we get involved with their families.”

April Brown, site coordinator of Kidz Xtreme for Rolling Hills, said she has seen the difference the program has had on the kids in the community. The effect has been so dynamic that the parents have become more involved with reading the Bible as well.

Bill McClain, executive director of the Guiding Institute for Developmental Education, was one of the individuals that helped Kidz Xtreme integrate themselves into the Rolling Hills community. The program has done wonders for the kids in this community, he said.

“This program has had a powerful influence in the community,” said McClain. “It has worked both with parents and with the children, which is very important because it’s very hard to impact the children unless you work with the parents.

“The children love it and sometimes they are here before any of us show up on Saturdays. This program has also offered them some opportunities to get out of the community to see other parts of the city.”

Jackie Pegram said it was not rocket science to see that if you show consistency and show love to the kids, they will respect you in return.

“The deal for us is that we want them to know that Jesus is the son of God, so we show consistent love, so we can tell them about Jesus,” she said. “The greatest thing is that they truly know that you’re coming back.”

The kids seemed to really enjoy the program. Some of the responses as to why the kids say they come to the program were: “I get to learn about Jesus,” “I wanted to come and learn about the Bible and see Ms. Jackie,” “God wakes me up to come and I wanted to come,” and “I want to come to have fun,” just to name a few.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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