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John Blake, Director CEF and Camps for City Kids

These classes and sports camps (Bible, Power & Light, Reading, Etiquette, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Pickleball, and Black-Top games) went four weeks from June 13-July 8th. Tennis, Basketball, Pickleball & Soccer sports camps were held in conjunction with Camps for City Kids and the DNS Reading Camp.

Fun play, basic skills, and court fitness are offered by Doc Blake, summer staff members, and “Mak” our intern. Dr. David, Pastor Harley, Jamo, Ms. Jackie, and Mak (above) conducted classes to build character for campers, understand their power, and change things in their world.

Kevin Mahoney, Dean of Studies, Durham Nativity School and Director of the Reading Camp

It’s difficult to put an exact dollar amount on the service, food, transportation, care, and academic enrichment that we provide. But know that we are providing each family a service valued between $50 and $400 per week  for summer camp. As a father, I know the face-value/dollar importance of that.

However, the real difference is the energy and kindness each of you bring. As a team, we have been consistently reliable and nice, which is always the goal each summer. As a result, and thanks to your efforts and attention to our students, the Jenny Koortbojian Reading Camp will successfully conclude tomorrow. 

Thank you so much for keeping our campers safe, engaged, and full of joy. For tomorrow, we have a bunch of food and beach toys; have some fun!

John “Doc” Blake JHS’73, Coach Parrish 45+yrs, and Emily Biggs JHS’74 want to make a greater impact on city kids this summer with your help! Our summer includes 4 weeks of fun and 35 campers. Here is your chance to sponsor a city kid. $5,000 will sponsored kids and the supplies this summer. CEF is pleased to introduce our summer intern, Mak, who will facilitate and lead our campers.

Tennis, Basketball, and Soccer: Camp for City Kids will include these sports and the following activities this summer June 13th-July 8th. We’re offering tennis, basketball, and soccer. Camp will instructions, drills, and team play each day. Week on Tuesdays & Thursdays ››

Pickleball: Fun, social and friendly. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. Picklebell Learn About ››

Blacktop & Field Games: These are the same games we use for fun and gather kids during weekly clubs, sports clubs and sports camps. Games on Blacktops: Ball throws, Hulo Hoop relay, Water Balloon relays, etc.

Bible Study, Etiquette Class, Values Based Character Education: Character development, Bible study, and Etiquette classes offered each week to camps understand their Good-given value, power, and destiny. Our summer will last for 4-weeks each Monday-Fridays June 13th – July 8th. Our summer staff is Mr. Kevin Mahoney and the DNS staff, Dr. David Johnson, Michael Haley, Jamison Berthold, Mrs. Jackie Omotosho, CEF staff, and our new intern, Makenzie “Mak” Pendergrass.


Sponsor-A-City Kids for summer camps in Durham… so $100 at a 4-weeks!!!

The vision for City Kids is simple – to visit under resourced sites and deliver a  comprehensive gospel impact. We are faced with many questions in our calling, but it is in our search for the answer that we strive to spread the Gospel to all. Is God powerful enough to keep kids away from gangs? Does the Word of God still accomplish what it says in the current day & age? What if The Church at Durham took seriously its responsibility for taking the Gospel to city kids and youth? What if for 10 years a collaboration of churches and ministries comprehensively served the 10 most physically and spiritually needy communities of Durham? …my recent medical update from my wife!


John Blake’s Recent Medical News from his wife Carolyn:

Hello everyone.  I wanted to thank you for your prayers and steadfast love for our family during this time.  To bring you up to date, last week on February 9, John had his scheduled MRI imaging.  When meeting with the oncology team later, the image was still indeterminate, possibly due to the 6 weeks of radiation, causing swelling and a cloudy image on the MRI picture. An indicator of the swelling has been John experiencing mild seizures and his speech somewhat worsened.

After meeting with the team, the approach now is to help settle the brain down and diminish the swelling.  So… on Valentine’s Day we begin an every other week (up to 4 months) infusion through IV of a drug which has been proven to provide decreased swelling/irritation as well as help John feel and speak/understand better.  All other therapies will continue as before, but our doctor is hopeful that this may give added relief to John during this time of recovery.

Praise God, John’s recent scan marker shows the tumor is a “good” one and responds great to chemo. Game plan is to begin a higher dose of chemo for 5 days, then 23 days off. What is determined there will give doctors an idea on whether we go through another year of every 1-2 months of MRI/recheck, or if the plan needs to be adjusted. 


For the past 10 years (…more 2010-2021):

For the past 10 years CEF Durham, along with a select group of collaborating agencies, ministries, and churches, have addressed the spiritual, physical, and social needs of 10 Durham communities. During these 10 years, the number of communities actually increased to 14, of which were being served. There were many stories of individual lives transformed by the Gospel and tireless volunteers consistently caring for these children and their families.

A few collaborators and volunteers burned-out along the way, while most labored weekly, yearly, to see the spiritual atmosphere change from darkness to light in many homes and throughout the communities where they served. Most of the children born and raised in these communities never knew life without their Good News Club.

Today, we continue to engage some of the same communities and others where crime and evil still dominate life, even if intermediately. There is still spiritual darkness, an orphan/poverty mindset within these communities where kids are not expected to succeed. These are the communities where the words: at-risk, under-resourced, and marginalized are still experienced everyday by its residents. These are the communities where God has been rejected, yet screams out to be glorified! This is where the Lord desires that the residents welcome Him back — into their homes and into their communities.

Sponsor City Kids for Camps:

Camps for City Kids are held for 4 consecutive days during summer months and school holiday sessions.  These camps emphasize putting God first in every aspect of play and life.  Building solid athletic skills and strong Christian character during drills and team play are expected of every camper.  Basketball, Soccer, and Tennis are regularly offered, but other sports like Wrestling, Baseball, Football, and Black-top Games have been held in the past. Sports camps, clinics, and tennis academies are typically held in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Fitness and healthy lifestyles are emphasized during all sessions. Presidential Fitness standards will be the age/sex baseline goal for all campers before the end of each camp season. For further camp details and a current schedule: Visit Upcoming Events and/or Call John Blake at 919.630.9434 — Though we meet with the kids in a variety settings, all of these camps emphasize putting God first in every aspect of play and life.


Challenges: A Few Words from the Coach

Hi! I’m reaching out again to all of my former players, campers, coaches, as well as my friends.  I’m thanking all of you for so many GREAT MEMORIES from my rich coaching journey. Today, Andy, my wife Alana, and I continue the face our life challenges  day-by-day with determination and faith.  I also hear that our camps for city kids have resumed after COVID restrictions were lifted for us to offer summer camps.  Doc Blake let me know that all 80-100 campers were fully sponsored.  Thanks for your help! 

As the director of CEF, Camps for City Kids, and other efforts to help kids and youth, doc wants to continue these efforts with the current campers and many more into the late summer and fall of 2021.  Most of you know what a camp experience can do for kids. Perhaps you were impacted at camp also.

So, help me again by giving back so that a young kids can benefit during their early years of development. Today’s city kids need this same challenge and opportunity more than ever. Enjoy a few pics from this summer and help me help doc by sponsoring kids for these camps. 

What is Camps for City Kids?

What’s up guys? This is John “Doc” Blake (JHS’73) and it’s been exciting to team back up with Coach and Emily Biggs (JHS’74) to make a greater impact on city kids. CEF works with kids 4-14 years old using a variety of programs, but sports and camps have been most effective for us to reach city kids in the Durham area.

Camps for City Kids this summer has include: Tennis, Basketball, Soccer, Bible, Character Development, Reading, a variety of academic skills, social etiquette classes, as well as a few field trips, all the while helping each camper understand their own value, power, gifts, and destiny.

This summer’s 6-week Reading Camp has been meeting Monday-Friday June 14 – July 22 offering reading, other academics, etiquette skills, 5-Day Clubs (Bible Studies), Power & Light character education, sports mini camps, and field trips. Our summer staff is doing an awesome job adjusting to challenges, innovating, and facilitating live as well as online classes. We appreciate Mr. Kevin Mahoney, Mr. Mike Glenn and the DNS staff, Madison Daniel, Charryse Fredrick-Omari, Joshua Tankard, and Mrs. Jackie Omotosho, and our newest intern Nafisa Van Den Akker very much!

Contributions to Child Evangelism Fellowship of North Carolina (Durham Area Chapter) are tax-deductible by the IRS as a 501c3 org.  Funds, Stock, and Sponsorship donations to CEF Durham towards funding Camps for City Kids are also included.  Give via USPS mail: CEF Durham PO Box 1288 Durham, NC 27702 / Give via website: gospeltokids.org

Including this blog site, these websites are designed as resources for those ministering to city kids, directing programs for children, and those looking for strategies to express the Kingdom to communities, schools, and children anywhere.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® (CEF®) of North Carolina in Durham has a simple, but profound threefold purpose: evangelism, discipleship, and connecting local churches to unchurched children and families across our area.  We have a calling to serve city kids, block by block, in resource-challenged communities of Durham with Gospel-centered activities using the 10 Keys of the Kingdom for biblical leadership development.
Building solid academic/athletic skills and strong Christian character are goals of our camps offering Basketball, Soccer, Futsal, Tennis, Fitness, Blacktop/Field Games, Cross Training/Bible, Life Skills, Etiquette, and character development education.
Values-based character education principles and strategies to help al N.C. schools to flourish. Special events to motivate and kick-start workshops and seminars are scheduled when requested by a school or organization. Workshops are offered in a series of 1 hour sessions, each adaptable for all school-age groups, faculty, and other audiences. These workshops, conducted in school classrooms, will challenge students at a very strategic time in their development. All workshops, seminars, and follow-up activities use discussion, object lessons, high-energy games, and relevant applications.

Held April 2nd Downtown Durham. Dozen Volunteers. Gospel. 100s of cars.

Recently, at the Easter drive-thru event, a dozen children and adults, who volunteered with CEF, distributed and ministered to city kids from Durham. Hundreds of Easter baskets, Gospel booklets and tracts were distributed. Families were reached and ministered to while in their cars. As a result of our friendships/partnerships with the Durham Rescue Mission and the City of Durham Community Engagement, six other neighborhoods were directly engaged and received the same items as during the drive-thru event. These items are pictured above and below. Each basket and booklet were given to city kids with a personal touch and prayerful ministry on April 2nd and 3rd.

Actually, over 6,000 city kids have been ministered to embracing the Gospel of Salvation during events like these this year and specifically during the past 6 months of the COVID pandemic.  Since the Fall of 2020 until now, 6,636 have participated in various community-based, clubs, and event-type ministries that CEF Durham offers.  Thanks for praying and for giving so that ministries like these can flourish, even during COVID restrictions as we’ve all endured.

Sponsors City Kids to attend our sports camps which emphasizes putting God first in every aspect of play and life. We build solid athletic skills and strong Christian character. Suggested: $100/kid

What better way to celebrate and teach your kids about Black History Month than with some great children’s books? The Flying Pig Books in Shelburne, Vt., Read with Me in Raleigh, N.C., and Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Ga. are kid-friendly bookshops across the country asked to offer their favorite titles that families should be reading for Black History Month – and beyond. I don’t recommend all of these 17 suggested books (link below), but I do like and use these books pictured:

  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (96 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade, ages 8 to 12 years
  • Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present, by Jamia Wilson, Illustrated by Andrea Pippins, Quarto (64 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade ages 8 to 12 years
  • Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, Dial (144 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade ages 8 to 12 years

What is Camps for City Kids?

What’s up guys? It’s been exciting to team-back-up with Coach Parrish and Emily Biggs, both friends and fellow Jordan High Falcons, to make a greater impact on the city kids we see all year via CEF Durham. Our ministry work is with kids 4-14 years old using a variety of programs, but sports and camps have been most effective in reaching city kids in the Durham area.

So, Camps for City Kids typically includes sports, character development, Bible teaching with life skills and social etiquette, as well as helping all campers understand their God-given value, power, and destiny. These camps are held for 4 consecutive days during summer months and school holiday sessions.  Every camp will emphasize putting God first in every aspect of play and life. 

Building solid athletic skills and strong Christian character during drills and team play are expected of every camper.  Basketball, Soccer, and Tennis are regularly offered, but other sports like Wrestling, Baseball, Football, and Black-top Games have been held in the past are used on demand when collaborating with other groups. Sports camps, clinics, and tennis academies are held in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, 2020 camps were drastically altered, yet we engaged city kids virtually with reading, etiquette, Bible, life skills and Power & Light character education. We’re excited and ready for 2021.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® of North Carolina in Durham presented its 2020 Ministry Briefing and COVID-Relief Update on Wed. Dec. 16th via Zoom for CEF supporters and friends. The Board members of the CEF Durham Area Chapter and its Director shared an exciting year-end report and update on how over 7,000 children were reached even during the restrictive COVID pandemic since March 2020.

See January-March 2020 began with strong ministry – April-December everything was adjusted = 7,000+ city kids reached!

Hear the recorded meeting of testimonies and a Christmas Greeting from the board members. The year-end report was given by me, the director. Here is the LINK for the meeting (use this 7k^c4fx$ to view). To read a more detailed report with graphics and pictures click on NEWSLETTERS and look for 2020 Ministry Report. I’ve posted, below, the graphics for my 2020 ministry report.

We have always followed a simple, but profound threefold purpose: evangelism, discipleship, and connecting local churches to unchurched children and families across our area, which is in concert with the mission statement of Child Evangelism Fellowship for 83 years. For 27 years, Child Evangelism Fellowship staff and volunteers have reached city kids in the surrounding Durham area. Through our Good News Clubs, sports camps, and collaborative events with dozens of ministry partners, we’ve been able to share the gospel with children of all ages. Thousands have accepted Christ as their Savior over those 27 years and many lives, families, and communities have been changed. Biblical discipleship and character development are happening weekly in schools and neighborhoods. Prayer Evangelism integrates everything we do.

Prayer Retreat at St. Francis Springs Center in North Carolina

So, after a great start with direct ministry with kids, training volunteers, preaching in the jail, and completing character development classes in schools, everything came to a screeching halt. There were new realities and soon to follow a New Normal. Despite the current situation and changing circumstances across the nation and our state, we simply did what we have been doing, but made some dramatic adjustments and became more innovative and creative. To reach 7,000+ in 2020 here are the adjustments we made and ministries we pushed forward with the help of our volunteers and our CEF Education and Creative departments.

  • Connections, ideas, and access of communication sources we could leverage for all teachers, kids, and families to use in finishing up the already started ministries before summer began.
  • Created, mobilized, and ramped up our prayer networks across the area via prayer walking, PrayDurham and RDU Prays initiatives, engaged in Prayer Walks for Justice & Peace, as well as enrolled in the Ekklesia Excelerator course with other Kingdom-building friends, leaders, and CEF volunteers.
  • Conducted summer camps (reading, 5-Day Club, etiquette, life skills, and character development, but no sports) via Zoom with close to 80% attendance daily for six weeks.
  • Weekly visits in communities, where we minister regularly, with breakfast, care packages, Wonder Why? booklets distributed, singing, and prayer with city kids and their families (per current COVID guidelines)
  • Bike distributions, with a helmet, vest, and bike light for all city kids attending Good News Club in one downtown community (see picture below)
  • COVID-Relief supplies, food, and devotional books were distributed for all city kids and families in another public housing community where we have weekly outreach and clubs. This was accomplished by the community’s CEF ministry team, a financial grant from the Duke-Durham Fund, local churches, food banks, and residents collaboratively meeting the expressed needs of this community throughout the summer and fall. (see picture below)
  • Continued to engage conversations and study with others locally about Race and Justice issues via Christianity Deconstructs Racism and Together We Stand.
  • Team leaders connected Good News Club TV and other learning resources to their students.
  • Drive-thru Back-to-School and Christmas events with our ministry partners as we distributed Christian books, Bibles, and Gospel-centered literature (seen in the video below and see picture below).

Graphics and pictures of ministry adjustments in 2020 and ministry outreach history of the CEF Durham Area Chapter

After 44 years of coaching: Coach Parrish has a challenge

Hey! I’m reaching out to all of my former players from Githens Junior School to JHS, SHS, RHS, and JHS again as well as all JPS and PS campers. I’m thanking all of you for all of my GREAT MEMORIES from the start – 1968 – to the end – 2012 – of my coaching journey. On behalf of one of our guys, John “Doc” Blake, a JHS ‘73 student and sport trainer, who went on to become a Sport Medicine and strength coach caring for East Carolina athletes, then at SHS, RHS, JPS and PS athletes.

Today “doc” is the director of CEF in the Durham area. I’ve served on the CEF Board of Directors and led summer sports camps with CEF until Andy’s accident. So, Andy and I, along with Emily and “doc” are challenging each of you to sponsor kids to attend the next camps, which doc Blake and CEF will be offering this Fall and next Spring. This will be a great opportunity to give back from your athletic experiences to a young kid that needs direction during their early development. 

I still love all of you who ran those suicides, which helped in developing your physical and mental toughness to win. Today’s city kids need this same challenge and opportunity more than ever. Finally, I would love the opportunity to reconnect with you.  Just use any of the many media means to contact with me.
Coach Larry Parrish

  1. Thank you John for this update! If you ever need any help with sports camps (especially basketball) then I would…

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