Volunteers run afterschool program for students

Special to Leader-Press


Puzzles, moving around the room like a chicken, cup stacking, or trying to be the first to switch seats with someone while memorizing a Bible verse are just a few of the fun things Clements/Parsons Elementary students are doing in the after-school Salt & Light Club, one of many optional clubs that are keeping students occupied and learning while parents are at work. 

Melinda Burch, volunteer leader of the afterschool club, says the name of the club explains its purpose as salt impacts things it comes into contact with, and that light is what enables us to see. So, how are they related?

“When you put salt and light together and apply their meanings to a person’s life, you get someone who is making an impact on the world and helping others to see the truth of what’s in front of them,” Burch said. 

Each week, community members from the First Baptist Church host the Salt & Light Club after school and meet to share stories from the Bible with students. The stories focus on encouraging students to make a positive impact in their classes, neighborhoods, and homes. Students like Addison Gable say the program helps them learn how to effectively interact with their friends and family.

“Sometimes I fight with my sisters and I like going to Salt and Light alone and having fun,” Gable said. “Salt and Light teaches me not to fight.”

Some of the topics students like Javion Blount learn about is how to put others first, to be peacemakers, to do what is right, and to be sorry if they are wrong. The program focuses on teaching students about having a relationship with Jesus and being both the salt and light in life.

“Sometimes I do something without permission, and the church I go to sometimes isn’t talkative. I like how Salt & Light keeps us under control and we still have fun. When we are talkative they tell us,” Blount said. “I wanted to join the club and I think it is helping me. I used to break a commandment, and now I don’t.”

The volunteers play games with the students to help them memorize Bible verses, teach students how to study the Bible and to pray for others.  

The students earn pennies by attending the club and memorizing verses. The pennies are then used to help others and give back to the community. Some of the students have already collected pennies for the animal shelter, to buy children in need gifts for Christmas, and to purchase food for the hungry.

The Salt & Light Club is for students in second through fifth grades and meets afterschool each Tuesday for six weeks in January and February from 3:15-4:30pm. 

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