By CHRIS SCHUTZ
Cal’s Service Station, a children’s ministry offered by the combined Calumet and Red Rock United Methodist Churches, plans to expand its services through a 2016 award from the New People New Places program.
Cal’s offers after-school activities in a safe environment for children in pre-K through fifth grade in the greater Calumet community, which includes Red Rock, said Tiffany Nagel, pastor of both churches since 2013.
Cal’s kids meet each Wednesday at Calumet UMC for an after-school snack, singing, prayer time, arts and crafts, Christian education, storytelling, games, and group activities.
On the first Wednesday of the month, Cal’s has a special event. Those have included a carnival with bounce house and snow-cone truck, exotic animals, a magician, a "mad scientist," sign language instruction, drama and theater workshop, an appearance by a race car driver with the vehicle, a visit by Santa Claus, and a Native American speaker, singer, and dancer.
As many as 76 children have participated.
One of the program’s significant costs is food, especially protein, Rev. Nagel said. Some of the children don’t get much protein daily, she said.
The NPNP grant will allow the churches to expand the program and help pay for curriculum material and crafts.
Getting the award is "an incredible blessing and an honor," Nagel said. The money will help the churches perform "the work that God has set before us."
Nagel said the churches plan to spread use of the money over the next three years. Leaders hope to use some of it to build a play area.
Cal’s Service Station has become a success because of the "faithful service of the men and women who show up every week to support these kids," Nagel said. They are examples of "laity changing lives."
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