Well worth the wait

Published 9:15 pm Monday, September 26, 2011

When he conceived the King’s Kids of America program, the late Bishop Obadiah Colander had more than just a good idea — he had the patience and foresight to understand that it would take some time for the idea to take off and reach the level of success that he knew it warranted.

More than 22 years ago, Bishop Colander, who was the pastor of Faith Temple Ministries Apostolic Church, decided something needed to be done to help Suffolk’s children and teens learn to make good decisions. His program of training the whole person — mind, body and spirit — grew from its original location in his church to the point where it now serves hundreds of Suffolk children around the city.

But in those early days Colander had even higher hopes for the program. He expected that one day it would grow beyond the boundaries of Suffolk and expand to other communities in Virginia. In his vision, though, that growth would come only after the program had been established for 20 years.

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During that time, organizers would need to continue their work of teaching participants from 4 to 23 important life lessons ranging from etiquette to health, safety and leadership skills. And that’s just what those folks have been doing, helping to mold the lives of young people from at-risk communities throughout Suffolk.

But on Saturday, as the program marked its anniversary, administrators also celebrated the establishment of two new King’s Kids sites, one in Alberta and one in Norlina, N.C., to be operated by Refuge Temple Ministries and Deliverance Until Sundown Ministries, respectively.

The folks who operate those ministries, which are both located near South Hill, are acquainted with Colander’s son, Bishop John Colander, who serves on the King’s Kids advisory board. John Colander brought the idea to them, and after researching it, they embraced it for their own communities.

King’s Kids is one of the worthy nonprofit programs working to set children and young adults on the right path in life. It’s gratifying to see this program expand beyond Suffolk, even if it has taken two decades for that to happen.