Creating forces for good

ACTS program seeks to keep kids fed, encourage positivity
Jun. 16, 2014 @ 07:11 PM

Area Christians Together in Service began its summer feeding program for school-aged children in Vance County on Monday.

Twenty-one students arrived at the ACTS house, 305 S. Chestnut St., Henderson, to eat breakfast and lunch and enjoy a wealth of activities and games. The organization will provide these meals daily throughout the summer.

Volunteers assisted the young guests in between meals as they played outside on the playground and colored pictures for their families while listening to music.

Joshlyn Norman said she wanted to offer children companionship while their parents were away.

“I feel like I work good with kids, and this is a great thing to put on my college applications,” she said.

Victoria Johnson helped out while her son participated. She said she felt an obligation to ACTS because it helped her settle in North Carolina after moving from New York to make a safer life for her son.

“ACTS was helpful with getting my house up and running last year, and I was able to give back this year,” she said.

She and Natasha Barzey said the program gave their children something constructive to do over the summer.

“It’s nothing to do for the kids,” Barzey said. “I heard about it, and I thought it was interesting. It gives me a chance to spend some time with my kids doing different things.”

The program was created to provide nutritious meals to children who would otherwise go without while schools are closed for the summer.

Last year, it started with six participants and grew to about 30.

ACTS director Twanna Jones said she is expecting about 40 this year.

“It will pick up as the summer goes on, and people start to hear about it,” she said. “We are still working out the logistics of everything right now.”

Jones said this year the program would seek to instill a positive outlook on life in the children of Vance County.

“We are trying to teach them to think positive because it gives you energy,” Jones said. “I want each child to go back in their home and be a positive energy there. I want to build self-confidence and get them ready for the next school year.”

Each day’s activities are made possible through community partnerships. Jones said she is also planning a field trip with Vance County Cooperative Extension and thinking about making arrangements to take the children to the zoo.

“We are building a foundation where you don’t have to be limited to where you live at,” she said.

ACTS executive assistant Martha Kerney said parents interested in enrolling their children should contact her at (252) 492-8231.

A registration form is required, along with any medical forms for children with allergies.

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