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COGIC Urban Initiative

Standing in the Gap:
Faith-based After-School Programs

Reve' M. Pete, D. T. S.

"So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30

Among the challenges facing communities in the United States is the challenge of providing constructive activities for children between the time school ends and their parents leave work. During these hours, many unsupervised children engage in activities that are unhealthy and/or unwise for themselves and for their community.

Although there are established programs such as the Boys Club and the Girls Club that address this area of need, there is room for similar programs that address this need using a faith-based approach.

By establishing a faith-based after-school program, Churches can expand their outreach and service to youth. First prayer, which is not allowed in school can be an integral part of a faith-based after-school program. Children can learn to pray for themselves, their families and their schools. Bible study can also be incorporated into a faith-based after-school program. This Bible study could be an extension of the Sunday School curriculum used on Sunday morning. During the after-school program hours, principles from the Sunday School lesson could be explored in ways that apply to the children's experiences at school, at play and at home. In addition to prayer and Bible study, academic tutorial that includes homework supervision and recreation time would also be included in the program.

Implementation of a faith-based program should also include the use of the church van or buses. Church vans and/or buses could pick up the children at their schools and transport them to the Church property for after-school activities. Parents could then pick up their children from the Church after leaving work. This would provide for the safety of the children, especially children who would otherwise be at risk of exposure to gang threats in their neighborhoods after school. Parents could also form transportation pools to share the responsibility of safely transporting the children from the Church after-school program to the home.

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