Helping youth for 20 years

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Twenty years after Bishop Obadiah Colander founded the program, current and former members of King’s Kids of America will gather next week to celebrate the organization’s work.

More than 200 members, volunteers and guests are expected at the 5 p.m. Sept. 26 event at Faith Temple Ministries, located at 476 Wellons St., according to Executive Director Betty Milteer Knight.

King’s Kids is a program that aims to help teach young people from 4 to 23 years of age how to make decisions that will keep them out of trouble and make them productive members of society.

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The program is designed to help strengthen the minds of 4- to 23-year-olds so they can “make the right choices to decide to do what’s right,” Knight said.

Participants at each of seven different sites throughout the southern part of Suffolk meet once a week for an hour. They take part in games, activities and projects, and they learn about a variety of topics, ranging from the significance of various holidays to etiquette to health, safety and leadership skills.

They also enjoy a variety of field trips and events throughout the year.

“It has allowed these children to have the same benefits as others, even though their parents may not have been involved,” Knight said.

Twenty years ago, Bishop Colander, who ministered at Faith Temple Ministries, developed his idea of training children’s minds, bodies and spirits and set the plan in motion that soon would become the weekly King’s Kids meeting. Since then, the organization has grown to more than 275 children and dozens of volunteers.

In fact, today there are second-generations King’s Kids, and “graduates” of the organization have gone on to become members of the armed services, pastors, entrepreneurs and members of the medical fields. Some, Knight said, even come back to help out with the group that helped shape them as youngsters.

“He always stated that it would take 15 to 20 years to see the real results of the organization,” Knight stated in an email message. “Here we are 20 years later, two decades of serving our youth.”

Next week’s program will feature participation and achievement awards for King’s Kids members from each of the seven sites that running programs this year, as well as drawings for cash prizes, drawings for bicycles and the awarding of a crown for King and Queen of each site, and the recognition of quarterly top volunteers and one Volunteer of the Year.

Participating children will recite scripture and pledges, perform songs, make introductions and run the program, Knight said.

“It really builds their self esteem,” she added.

The group is looking for former members who wish to attend the event and for patrons who wish to help pay for it through contributions or through the purchase of advertisements in a special program booklet.

To participate, to make a donation or to buy an ad, call 539-6918.