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Volunteering is important for numerous reasons that benefit both the community and the volunteers themselves. When someone donates a handful of time, the difference made is tremendous and it shapes a community for the better while the experience improves the person who donated the time.
Last week our annual three-week peace camp began for nearly 50 children. Every summer I get almost the same emotions. I become so excited about this wonderful experience we offer our children. I just love seeing the younger children begin their first tentative steps in Praise Dancing. I delight in the first art therapy sessions when the children thrive on creative expression and make their own T-shirt designs. I get goosebumps when many voices finally become a choir and the camp participants make a song come alive. Mostly, I realize a deep sense of gratitude and satisfaction as the groups become a community and the children share kindness and respect toward each other.
This week three men visited from Wisconsin for two days to see what we at CSK do and how we do it. They are involved in a similar ministry in Wisconsin. They got and ear full and eye full in visiting our sites plus four other organizations that work with homeless and marginal people in the city of Detroit.
And thus we start another garden season with the children of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. This is the 20th season of gardening for our children! The mission of the Rosa Parks Youth Program at the Soup Kitchen emphasizes education, creativity and peacemaking. The program helps youth think clearly, make choices wisely, learn alternatives to violence, and care for themselves and the entire Earth community. The Rosa Parks Peace Garden develops this mission in the practical work of gardening: reinforcing basic job skills and requirements such as timeliness, teamwork, accountability, mutual respect for co-workers and completion of tasks. It is a time of learning and of confidence building so that the children may not only obtain better jobs in the future but also keep them.