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Popular Christian radio show K-LOVE interviews community member devoted to helping at-risk children

 

Last updated 3/13/2019 at 5:40pm

Courtesy photo

Jacori Neal (standing) is a mentor with the "Gearing Up for STEM" mentor protege workshop at Aspire Community Day School in Hemet, Oct. 30, 2018.

WILDOMAR – Dr. Mona Davies, director of Community Outreach Ministry, aired on K-LOVE's "Closer Look" radio program Feb. 10, to discuss her featured workshops for children: "Gearing Up for STEM" mentor protege workshops and "Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration" mentor protege workshops. Davies, who co-founded the ministry with her husband Bob in 2000, also shared with K-LOVE what inspired her to create the nonprofit organization. 

"We were called to do this ministry through the word of God, to defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them from the hand of the wicked," Davies said, quoting Psalm 82:3-4, as she described the beginning of her work for nearly the past 20 years in Riverside County to at-risk children.

"Our objective is to reach the children whose parents are incarcerated and those who are highest at-risk of becoming the next generation of inmates." Davies said, as she also discussed the ongoing need for sponsors to make contributions toward robots and materials for upcoming workshops. Donations help to enrich students to expand their knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math and to get excited about lucrative jobs in the fields of technology.

"That's where our heart is," Davies said, adding that Community Outreach Ministry has been invited by Tammy Wilson, CEO to Oak Grove Center, 24725 Jefferson Avenue in Murrieta, to host the "Gearing Up for STEM" mentor protege workshops. Two workshops are scheduled to take place March 20; the first workshop will take place at 8:30-10 a.m. and is designed for elementary and middle school students. The second workshop will be from 10:15-11:45 a.m. and is designed for high school students.

In these workshops, students are given an individual mechanic kit, introducing basic assembly skills to construct scientific and mechanical robots. Approximately three to four students work together with a mentor. The mentoring team consists of engineers, parents, grandparents and students from the community. Tables are set up for the students with toolboxes to keep small parts and tools organized. The students as a team learn to work together with their mentor to follow step-by-step drawing instructions comparable to on-the-job training.

Recalling her experiences as a youth, Davies shared her personal story about how a lack of faith, purpose and destiny profoundly affected her life inspiring her to make a difference in children and families impacted by incarceration in Riverside County. These children are also invited to participate in academic after-school enrichment activities, camping and holiday parties where they develop social, spiritual, educational and vocational skills.

"It's something I grew up with seeing a lot of children in my day who were impacted by parental incarceration. I could identify with these children as I did not have a savior and these children need a savior. No one ever came to share the Gospel where I lived, and I believe that's why there were so many youngsters in gangs, on drugs, committing crimes and being incarcerated," Davies said.

"Going back to 1988 in the ministry back in Washington State, I called it my boot camp," Davies said, as she talked about her church involvement and its impact on her decision in later years to create a nonprofit organization for children. She said she became involved in a church that was doing outreach in the community. 

"We were right on the Seattle-Tacoma strip," she said. "The whole area there was heavy into drugs and prostitution. A lot of the parents there were revolving in and out of incarceration. Our church was located right next door to these low-income apartment buildings, projects, trailer parks and motels. And God put it on my heart to go meet these managers to tell them we could come over and bring music, play games with the youngsters and share Bible stories. The managers loved it. There used to be signs up on all of these apartments and projects that said 'no trespassing.' As soon as the managers put the welcome mat out to the church teams, the 'no trespassing' signs came down."

Community Outreach Ministry has also been invited by Katrinka Solomon, a social services coordinator with Lake Elsinore Unified School District, to host the "Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration" mentor protege workshop for parents at Heald Academy's Parent and Cafe in the Lake Elsinore from 9-11 a.m., April 3. The workshop will offer parents and caregivers information on community-based resources in English and Spanish. The community-based resources are aimed at assisting children and families to overcome barriers improving the outcomes for themselves and their loved ones.

"There are a lot of needs not being met in this population," Davies said, adding that some of these children are dealing with homelessness, caring for younger siblings and dealing with multiple risk factors. Grandparents as caregivers in many instances do not ask for support to protect their grandchildren from being stigmatized or ostracized, and no checks come in from the incarcerated parents.

"This is where Community Outreach Ministry has stepped in to offer academic enrichment opportunities for the children, youth and teens transitioning into adulthood socially, spiritually, educationally and vocationally," Davies said. "Camping is one of those opportunities for children to go to the mountains or to a national park, and they can live in a tent, cabin or a dorm. For a week, they get to have a bed; they get to have all the food they can eat, and they engage in God's word, learning scriptures to be the foundation of their life so that they can learn right from wrong and not make the same mistakes as their parents." 

Courtesy photo

Jeanice Lee, the regional public affairs manager at K-LOVE, interviews Dr. Mona Davies of Community Outreach Ministry, Feb. 10.

Davies said the camps also allow these children to build social skills and life skills while having fun playing outdoor games and sports with other children and winning prizes for their efforts.

"It's an amazing opportunity for them to go away make new friends and then they look forward to coming back every year," she said.

Community Outreach Ministry welcomes invitations to take these workshops into community centers, schools and churches, "giving at-risk children a second chance to be winners and champions." 

They also welcome donations online at http://www.communityoutreachministry.org or call (951) 698-7650. Donors can also text "DONATE CHAMPIONS" to (609) 212-0627 to donate to Community Outreach Ministry.  For a copy of the audio interview contact [email protected]

Submitted by Community Outreach Ministry.

 

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