Church program offers Friday activities for kids

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Thank God It’s Friday. The old adage is also the name of a new program offered at First Christian Church for students who no longer have school on Fridays.

Comprised of students in kindergarten through fifth grade, the program runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays when no classes are held or it’s not a scheduled holiday.

Students in sixth grade and beyond may volunteer as mentors, said Jim Witcher, minister and program coordinator.

Witcher said the idea came naturally when he talked with schools Superintendent William Reents about alternative activities since the district switched to a four-day week this year.

“I’ve worked with kids all my life,” Witcher said, “since my kids were kids.” Witcher said his oldest is now 37. “It’s heartwarming to watch them grow.”

Just because the kids at TGIF are not at school, Witcher said, it does not mean they are not learning. He said the church program, which is offered for free and staffed by himself and other adult volunteers, offers many lessons.

Since their Sept. 10 kickoff, Witcher said they have been following Bible lessons from the beginning. That is, they started with creation and moved onto the making of man.

Last week’s lesson was on Noah and, like other lessons, included crafts, songs, activities and a handful of kids in the playroom.

“I like to help with the kids and all,” said Bianca Chavarria, 12, who was assisting her 4-year-old sister Tori Chavarria and 4-year-old Ashley Hall with their mobiles.

“Helping with the kids helps me,” Bianca Chavarria said.
Hall, however, said her favorite part was playing and, when prompted by her mother Jessica Hall, she added crafts, songs and games.

“I like sharing,” Ashley Hall added, which is a beneficial thing since nearly 20 kids have been showing up each week, according to Witcher.

“It’s been going great,” he said, “but we need more kids.”

What: Thank God It’s Friday program
When: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays when school is not in session and it’s not a holiday.
Where: First Christian Church, 1701 S. Fourth St.
How: Show up and register any Friday morning or call 461-2723