You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Current Topics’ category.

Coaching football, basketball, wrestling and camps for over 45 years

I mentioned around Christmas that I would be letting the public know, as we enter 2020, how you can join me in HONORING Coach Larry Parrish and his family for 45+ years coaching and developing many student-athletes, coaches, and maybe even you. Coach Parrish said several times to me, “Doc, tell my players to Sponsor a City Kid for your CEF sports camps and character development.” So, here goes — that’s a $100 donation/camper to sponsor a local city kid to attend one or more of our More Than Gold sports, Power & Light reading, character-building, and academic camps which will be offered this spring, summer, and fall of 2020.

For over 45 years Coach Parrish‘s goal has been developing young athletes into good players and even better people. During those 45 years of coaching, he coached football, basketball, and wrestling at these Durham schools – Githens, Jordan, Southern, Riverside Pirates as well as directing the Prep Stars, Junior Prep Stars, and More Than Gold basketball camps.

Many who know of Coach Parrish, think of him only as a basketball coach, however, when I first met Coach P, he was extremely passionate about football. He said recently, “Doc, I never thought of coaching basketball back (1968) when you were in my typing class at Githens Middle School. Football was my sport.” Coach Parrish would soon become the most successful football coach in Jordan High School history until recent gridiron success of the Falcons. He also coached the first wrestling team at Jordan in 1972.

Today, Coach has his toughest coaching task of his life… and he loves it! Andy Parrish — Coach’s son, that many of you know, suffered a debilitating head injury back in 2012 while Coach Parrish was working hard to reach city kids with summer basketball camps. Since that day Larry & Alana Parrish have cared for Andy, everyday — all day. Andy has made some progress over the past 7 years, but it’s still a full time job of L.P.T. (Larry Parrish Training aka physical therapy).

Coach Parrish made a promise to Andy, very much like he made to his former players — “I’m here for you. I’ll do whatever I can and whatever you will allow me towards you becoming the best athlete and person possible.” Andy is being coached by his dad, just like an athlete, to achieve an incredible mental and physical goal. We’re calling this The Parrish Promise. CEF and myself are making the same promise to hundreds of city kids in our area. We’re teaming up with Coach and continuing his promise.

Since Coach is unable to be on the court, field, or mat doing what he loved for 45 years, he is asking for your support to send 500 city kids to camps in 2020. If you were one of Coach Parrish’s players, campers, students, fellow coaches, or just someone who cares about city kids, here’s how you can help Coach fulfill his Parrish Promise.

Reply now by making a donation at this link so that city kids can attend one or more of our sports camps in 2020. https://gospeltokids.org/share-good-news-campaign/ This is the organization, CEF Durham Area, which John Blake is Executive Director and camp founder.

After 26 years as a CEF chapter in North Carolina, we are even more vigilant to reach, love, evangelize, disciple, and connect city kids to local church congregations. Most of these youth (4-14 yrs.old) are not involved in a local congregation, thus the mission purpose of CEF worldwide for 82 years. So, in the Durham area, we will continue in 2020 and beyond, as we did in 2019, to reach over 10,000 children, youth, and families through Gospel-centered strategies in their communities and schools.

“Nowhere to Go, Nothing to Do” accurately describes the lives of the city kids we teach.

Whether it happens to be on the streets of our city or in various classrooms, the biblical message of salvation as well as how to live for Christ will be taught and lived out by amazing volunteer teachers and leaders each week. I’m excited about the unique opportunities we will have to enhance our mission in 2020. See our prayer request and current ministry report to the left. We need and are asking God for more volunteers and resources to expand this effort. I’m asking you to consider being one of those to be an answer to our prayer. Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020!

Get a copy of the Fall 2019 IMPACT magazine edition, which contains the article, “Nowhere to Go, Nothing to Do” by John Blake by sending a contribution of any amount to CEF Durham to cover postage and helping us reach more city kids as we expand our weekly outreach.
 

We have been fortunate, while ministering in Durham for nearly 30 years, to learn and experience what ministry collaboration looks like and definitely enjoy the unique expressions of the Kingdom of God. These continue to be lived out in communities, the marketplace, schools, and other sectors of our city today. As a result of learning and leaning into a collaborative mindset of ministry, some of the most sustainable and fruitful programs have been developed.

These programs or ministries were birthed out of a shared vision. They were initiated and sustained by a collaborative group, which offered their own unique gifts and resources for ministry success. Here are a few examples flowing out of the Durham Area chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship and its collaborators:

I’d like to give a huge “shout-out” to Reynolds Chapman, Executive Director of DurhamCares, and his board for developing and implementing a recent collaborative initiative which brought local churches together. Watch this video to learn more. Contact DurhamCares, CEF Durham, ReCity, to mention a few here, where you, your organization, or church can join us for the sake and welfare of our city.

CEF Durham is supportive and thankful for DurhamCares engaging our local communities and churches towards expressing what the Kingdom of God can look like on earth.

The atmosphere in some local schools is changing! “It feels so peaceful here. I just feel encouraged and uplifted when I visit your school. When I go to middle school, I want to go here. I just love this school.” These are the comments heard from students, parents, teachers, and visitors who step into a select group of schools in the Raleigh-Durham area. This is Great News! Right?

For detailed information visit The Center of Light website

Since the Power & Light program was offered to local schools by The Center of Light, as well as in collaboration with each individual school’s faculty and academic resources, amazing, dramatic, and even transformative changes have occurred. There has been a measurable shift in the behavior, culture and academic level in these schools. Here are a few of the results from the beginning years of a 5-year pilot from each school.

Middle school-selected metrics were identified to evaluate progress. Success was determined by annual improvements in the following with results noted.

  • Behavior referrals to school administrators – Result: 300 less referrals after 1st year of Power & Light
  • Acts of violence and verbal abuse – Results: No fights during 1st semester of classes
  • Reading levels – Results: Literacy program stated that K-1 readers are now at 6th grade level
  • EOG testing scores for 2017 thru 2019 – Results: Every subject of every grade level had improvement across the board, 2 years in a row, additionally, at the end-of-year 2019 one school increased their improvement by 1 entire letter grade – a “N.C. School to Watch”
  • Suspensions/Expulsions – Results: only 1 suspension reported
  • Testimonies of progress from students, parents, and faculty – Results: Students are intervening when conflicts happen in classrooms, there is a feeling/culture of peace within the schools, overt bullying has ceased, teachers have stated: “This is the best year of teaching ever…”

CEF Durham and the City of Durham are extremely blessed to have a faithful and devoted woman like Ms. Lou Brogden serving city kids, various communities, and schools in the Durham area. Listen to her passion and purpose of her teaching ministry for over 30 years. Thank you Summit Church and Serve RDU for highlighting Ms. Lou‘s cause of reaching city kids for Christ.

Ms. Lou Brogden is a CEF Durham Board member, elderly care-giver, and Good News Club teacher in public schools and city communities.

Ever had conversations which started like this? I remember when… Of course you have — probably many times with family and close friends. Such memories are from events which shaped you and others lives. These experiences are so important and powerful because they helped to form who you are and your perspectives on life as well as the world around you. Whether good or bad life experiences, historic events, or when you finally understood or realized something significant — each are unforgettable memories.

Childhood memories: re-experiencing historic moments

My wife and I have been consumed with all the documentaries and docudramas this month regarding the U.S. and Russian space programs and the 50th anniversary of the first men to land and walk on the Moon. Exciting stuff!!! Great memories of our childhood and teen years! While watching a variety of featured T.V. programs, listening to actual audio of the astronauts in space, observing the control centers in action, and seeing the photographs taken in space, our minds were flooded with memories. Our conversation was dominated by similar events we experienced, places we were at, and the people we were with during the space race to the moon. These were some of the most unforgettable memories which shaped our young lives back in the 60s-70s.

Photo by NASA and William Anders on Apollo 8 mission to the Moon Dec. 24, 1968

Places and moments I can never forget from my past

We were able and expected to watch most of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches on a black & white (b/w) T.V. Many times this happened while at school. Students were absolutely captivated and engaged with space rockets and astronauts. My wife actually was able to view some launches (live) on their school playground. Her dad was an engineer who worked on the rocket firing systems at NASA.

Later, we watched the 1st moon landing on a Color T.V. — this was totally amazing, however the images were all in distorted b/w (below left) but thank God, Walter Cronkite was in living color. Later we saw sharp color photos taken by the astronauts (below right). Our 50+ year journey back in time this summer reminded us of how futuristic and exciting life was as kids becoming teens. We gained a much larger perspective of our planet, the moon, and the space beyond.

Deeper reflections — perspective of the world where I minister

These are memories I will never forget. I also cannot escape my thoughts and memories of hundreds of city kids I’ve had the opportunity to know and minister to through CEF Durham. By engaging their lives, I’ve helped them create some great memories, especially introducing them to the Savior, in whom they have believed for their salvation. Unforgettable, I trust. Also unforgettable is the landscape where most city kids call home. Metaphorically, many live in communities as barren, blighted, and cold as the moon.

These kids are awesome, intelligent, and extremely creative, yet I wonder how deep the impact will be on them from the spiritually dark world where they live. Our CEF teams continue to engage their world and communicate THE Message of Hope while affirming city kids’ true value, their gifts, and their destiny as a world changer. We teach the kids that it takes 10 positive statements and/or actions of bringing Light to their world in order to erase 1 negative statement spoken to them, aka false label or lie, as well as any experience that brings darkness to their lives and community. City kids in Durham are putting this into practice at their schools and communities, but they need help! Want you join us in some way?

This 6-week, comprehensive, multi-dimensional reading camp is coming to a close very soon. We are in our 5th week with our friends at the Durham Nativity School and the Jenny Koortbojian Foundation conducting this Summer Reading Camp. CEF has been offering games/fitness along with educational sessions in Bible, social etiquette, character development, and mental health. The campers have been growing and thriving in each area.

Our 5-Day Club curriculum as well as newly developed programs for strengthening the body, mind, spirit, and heart of city kids has been instrumental in the salvation as well as the academic and social development of the 65 enrolled campers. There are 35-40 city kids regularly attending this unique experience in downtown Durham, which began June 17th. The diverse group of 3rd-6th graders will finish camp next week on July 25th. READ MORE Our instructors have been Joshua Tankard, Jackie and Chi Omotosho, Madison Daniel, and John Blake.

CEF Durham has a summer ministry plan: Kids Love Camping! School is out! Weather is hot! What are kids doing this summer?

Many know they’re going to the pool, away for camp, or some vacation time out of town. But many of the city kids we know and love can’t count on doing all these things each summer. Actually, many of their parents wish their kids could enjoy these summer activities. CEF Durham, alone, has offered sports camps, Bible clubs, and overnight camping to children for the past 25 years as an auxiliary ministry. The extended time spent with children and youth at any camp enhances their spiritual formation like no other, short of being their parents and living with them. For the same reason, coaches and teachers are so influential in the lives of their students.

This summer we, at CEF Durham, are doing something familiar, but a bit more comprehensive, with our friends at the Durham Nativity School and the Jenny Koortbojian Foundation Summer Reading Camp. CEF will be a partner in offering games/fitness along with educational sessions in Bible, social etiquette, character development, and mental health. Our 5-Day Club curriculum as well as newly developed programs to strengthen the body, mind, spirit, and heart of city kids will be used during this 6-week camp.

The 50-60 city kids attending this unique experience in downtown Durham, which began June 17th, are loving this type of summer camp. The diverse group of 3rd-6th graders will finish camp July 25th. Thirty full days of inner city camping this summer will form and nurture these young lives into God-loving, world-changing, healthy individuals.

I could use a long list of “re… words” to describe what we all need more often than we actually have opportunity to access. Recharging, reloading, rebuilding, or restoring are all objectives when I seek time to get away. There’s an exciting expectation to rest, but also engage in uncommon activities which revive my body, mind, and spirit. As our family often does, we retreat to the coast. Rejecting the pile of tasks to do and the books to be read, my senses are rejuvenated by the sounds of the sea, the sand between me toes, and the taste of good seafood. Ah, what a place and time to recover well!

Not all of you know, I’ve had four surgeries in the past two years, not counting several ear surgeries in the past and an ACL replacement in a knee several years ago. I know about recovery, both quick and very slow. When I found and felt those breakthrough moments, “WOW!, I’m going to get back… recover.” Well, I’m in one of those breakthrough moments right now with a total shoulder replacement and loving the success and expecting the day I can say. “I’m fully recovered.” My mind and spirit needs that as well. I look forward to recovering well.

Today, as we make our way to our most common coastal destination, I so look forward to the mystical gifts of recreation (re-creation) and renewal. Hopefully, hearing a Word from the Lord… Expecting to recover well. Recovering well brings excitement, renewed energy, and focus. I also look forward to these gifts spilling over into our ministry to city kids. I’ll need the energy and focus as CEF Durham will partner with others to hold a 6-week camp for city kids this summer.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® executives, headquarters staff, and hundreds of CEF staff, board, and volunteer members enjoyed, perhaps, the best USA conference in recent memory May 6-10, 2019.  There was a spirit of freedom and breakthrough as well as numerous conversations around forgiveness, reconciliation, collaborative outreach, reaching our U.S. cities, and new approaches to ministry.

Workshop leaders: Michael Harley, Esther Beasley, and John Blake

Due to the presence of the keynote speaker Dr. John Perkins, for workshops on City Kids, which were led by myself, Michael Harley, and Esther Beasley, and for the strategic planning and development done over the past several years, CEF ministries will become more effective, collaborative, and sustainable in “urban America” (especially areas of socioeconomic and spiritual need). CEF will be ever-present and intentional to minister alongside others in collaboration for spiritual transformation of city kids, their families, and communities across the USA.

READ MORE about City Kids

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,161 other followers

Find a subject

John E. Blake tweets