Ohio Women Hang Out with Youth

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The women of Willard (Ohio) Christian Reformed Church have been spending lots of time lately with kids—other people’s kids, that is. They’ve done so ever since member Kathleen Buurma heard a report from a local school principal about the level of poverty in Willard and its effects on area youth.

Moved to do something about it, Buurma explored possibilities. In the fall of 2013, she and between 10 and 15 women of Willard CRC began volunteering every Tuesday at Hope Center, an alternative after-school hangout for youth in their community. She organized a Bible activity for the students, most of them in grades 7 to 12, and arranged to have dinner prepared for them. Usually 10 to 30 students show up, depending on the weather.

Buurma said that she tries to arrive a bit early on Tuesdays to visit with the teens before she shows a part of The Bible movie and leads a brief discussion session. Following that, students enjoy a dinner prepared and served by the Willard women. According to fellow church member Randi Holthouse, “Sometimes for the kids it is the only meal they might have all day.”

Buurma admitted, “It can be difficult to deal with some of these kids’ problems,” but added that they are starting to warm up to the Willard members and even enjoy the Bible study. Her experiences with the youth at Hope Center have made her all the more aware of all that she has—and very glad that she is able to share in this way.

About the Author

Anita Ensing Beem is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. Retired director of education and outreach at North Hills CRC in Troy, Mich., she now resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is a member of First CRC.