CARing Kids Program
A Program of Lutheran Campus Ministry for Children At Risk from the Langley Park area.
The CARing Kids program forms the main portion of the CARing Project. CARing seeks to build self-esteem and provide role models to the elementary school children of Langley Park. This program pairs each child one-on-one with a university student, who is their "buddy" for the semester. Through play and activities, CARing buddies focus on developing the children's language, reading, and math as well as their self-image and social abilities.
The children come from a multi-cultural community. Unfortunately, the neighborhood is marked by high unemployment, language barriers, gang violence, drugs, and poverty. Each semester, there are 20 children who are selected to participate in CARing. The children are in second through sixth grades at Langley Park- McCormick Elementary School, and are chosen by Pr. Rosario Hernandez-Cruz, Pastor of La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family) Lutheran Mission in Langley Park.
The program is staffed by Pastor Ray Ranker, Lutheran chaplain at UMCP, a student peer minister who has had extensive previous involvement with CARing, and a Lutheran Volunteer Corps volunteer. Each semester, there can be up to 24 students from UMCP who volunteer to be a buddy with a child or help out with the program in other ways.
For more information on CARing Kids, or to sign up to be a buddy, please contact Bailey Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Backpack Project
Every June-August Lutheran Campus Ministry collects school supplies and backpacks for children in need at Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School. In 2011, over 275 filled backpacks were sent to children in Langley Park, helping them have the supplies they need to succeed in school. Our partners, including the school principal of the elementary school, make sure these backpacks find an appropriate home. Our supply list is based on what the school tells us each child needs.
Many churches participate in this drive, and the backpacks are assembled by volunteers. Donors can choose to give completed backpacks with all the supplies, or empty backpacks or a stack of supplies needed to fill the backpacks (for instance, a box of marble notebooks). Monetary donations marked for this program go towards buying remaining supplies needed to fill more backpacks.
The Warm Coats and Gloves Project
After many reports from the Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School that children did not have sufficiently warm coats, gloves or hats, Lutheran Campus Ministry started collecting these items for the school to distribute. We collect new or gently used (clean) winter coats, along with gloves, hats, and scarves, every October-January. In 2013-2014, nine churches from the Metro D.C. area participated in the project, and as a result over 230 coats and 125 scarves, gloves, and hats were given to those in need. To donate to the Warm Coats Project, please contact Pr. Ray Ranker- email@example.com.
The Book Project
We are always collecting new or gently used books for elementary school children. These books help us fill our library, which the CARing kids use every week on Thursday’s, and the library at En Camino, which is used every Wednesday. Because the children often do not have many books in their homes, and because we want to encourage them to read on their own, every week children can take home up to three books which they may keep.
How is the Caring Project Supported?
The CARing project is supported entirely through donations from individuals and churches and money grants from the University of Maryland. A nutritious daily snack, supplies for each activity, and a stipend for the student leader are just some of the ways that we use monetary donations. This year, the van rentals that are used to transport the CARing kids to the program site at Hope Lutheran Church and Student Center in College Park have been entirely funded through University of Maryland Student Government Association (SGA). Visit Support Our Ministry for more information.