child development

While The Salvation Army Child Development Center in Naples, Florida remains closed to ensure the health and safety of families and staff, the teachers are providing daily lessons online.

The child care center offers developmentally appropriate programs and specialized curriculum to make sure children are ready to enter Kindergarten. Before it closed temporarily due to COVID-19 precautions, it served 80 children ages 1-5 and provided a meal and two snacks each day.

Through a Facebook Group, families at home are remaining engaged and benefit from the dedication of the teachers.

“We are also seeing more activity on our page particularly between families who are looking to connect with one another and support each other,” says Captain Ben Bridges, Administrator for The Salvation Army in Naples. “Children who miss seeing their friends every day have found a new way to connect and make their time at home a bit more enjoyable!”

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s national response to coronavirus COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

preparing meals lakeland

delivering meals in lakelandIn trying times associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools, churches, and community programs across the United States are closed and, as a result, many young people are in search of nourishment to replace missed meals. In Lakeland, Florida, that is certainly the case, and The Salvation Army is stepping into the gap.

While The Salvation Army Lakeland Corps (church) did not have scheduled services on Sunday, March 15 in order to maintain recommended social distancing, members from the church came, as they do each week, to prepare breakfast.

This meal was then delivered to children that depend on it, with three families that regularly attend weekly activities currently living in hotel rooms.

“Knowing that many of our children rely upon school and corps feeding programs, it became apparent that we would need to step in and fill the food gap for a while until the COVID 19 situation improves,” says Major Barry Corbitt, Administrator for The Salvation Army serving the Lakeland area. “We are grateful for caring church members who go the extra mile to care for our kids.”

The Salvation Army plans to continue this service, beginning on Wednesday evening, in an effort to meet human need.

preparing meals lakeland

*NOTE: These resources are currently only being provided to individuals previously enrolled in The Salvation Army’s programs.

Click here to learn about The Salvation Army’s national response to coronavirus COVID-19.

If you would like to submit a prayer request or a request for one of our pastors to call you for prayer, please visit www.SalvationArmyFlorida.org/pray.

Click here to help The Salvation Army continue meeting needs in your community.

General Peddle

General Brian Peddle, International leader of The Salvation Army, has issued a global call to pray for women and girls in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which identified 12 critical areas of concern for women and girls.

“I’m asking you to join me in a cry for justice,” said Peddle in a special video message. “A heartfelt longing to deal with the wrongs of this world.”

In the video, Peddle describes “probably the greatest injustice of our age”: the fact that half the world’s population start life at a disadvantage simply because they are female.

In his call to prayer, Peddle cites up-to-date statistics that illustrate the scale of the issue: 71 percent of all trafficked people are female. A third of all women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Women do three times more unpaid care work than men – currently valued at $10 trillion USD per year.

“But even that huge number,” said Peddle, “still doesn’t capture the full extent of women’s lost economic potential.”

Spearheaded by The Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission (ISJC), the year of prayer will also include practical action. The Commission on the Status of Women, held at the United Nations’ New York headquarters from March 9-20, will include reports on The Salvation Army’s ministry with women and girls.

The Salvation Army is also leading or hosting a rich series of parallel events for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders. These include coordinating sessions entitled “The Girl Child,” “Sisters for Sale” and “Women in Power” as well as hosting discussions at the ISJC headquarters run by other NGOs, such as “Using Data to Drive Inclusion and Accountability in Technology” (AnitaB.org), “Empowerment of Refugee Girls Through a Network of Education Opportunities” (Embrace Relief) and “Shoulder to Shoulder: Men and boys supporting women and girls to achieve gender equality” (28 Too Many).

The ISJC has added resources to its website on “How to Pray for Justice” and “Women and the Sustainable Development Goals” from UN Women, in order to help focus and inform prayers.

Participants are encouraged to sign up to show their support. An online discussion space invites those who pray to share how God is speaking to them, how they are responding and to share any Bible verses or other resources that others may find helpful.

“As we seek justice together, we do so in the knowledge that Jesus promised that, for those who cry out to him day and night, God will see that they get justice,” General Peddle said in his video message. “Not only that, but he told his followers that God will grant this justice quickly. So don’t wait! Sign up now and join me in this wave of prayer that will sweep around the globe.”

Watch the General’s video message, find out more and get involved at http://sar.my/cryforjustice.

Richard has fond memories of going to parks as a child. He still can recall every detail of the ones that are most special to him. When he took a tour of The Salvation Army’s Towers Center of Hope and the Red Shield Lodge shelter for women and families in Jacksonville, Florida, the playground made an impression on him – but not for the right reasons.

It was old, in disrepair and clearly in need of some love. After he went home, the playground kept coming up in his mind. Finally, he decided that he needed to do something about it.

“I went home, and I guess it was two or three days before I started thinking about it again,” Richard said. “And I thought, you know, I could so something that would be better. I made my proposal, it was accepted, and here we are today.”

Richard could have just written a check and felt good about the difference he made. But he isn’t that kind of fellow. He researched the best playgrounds and the best building materials and imagined what would provide the best playground experience for the children, drawing from his own happy memories. When the time came to tear out the old playground and build the new, Richard put in hours of his own sweat equity.

The result of his labor of love is incredible. Hope Park is now a vibrant and engaging playground of the highest quality. The children who stay at the Red Shield Lodge now bound out of the doors and play with abandon on a playground created with an enormous level of care. Richard designed the entire experience of the playground with intention.

“What I tried to do here was to incorporate some of the things that I remember from the days that I visited parks,” he said. “We’ve incorporated a mural on the perimeter wall which has some phrases and inspirational words that hopefully the children and parents can take with them. Maybe it will be inspirational enough that it will change their lives a little bit.”

Hope Park is not the only thing Richard has created that will change the lives of shelter residents and other Salvation Army clients in the Jacksonville area. He is also providing funding through his two endowments to enable veterans and other adult clients to continue their education or job skills training so they can build a better life. Richard’s sustaining gifts support The Salvation Army’s local Pathway of Hope program that offers participants the opportunity to break the cycle of generational poverty. The overarching goal of the program is to provide participants the order to become more stable and self-sufficient. In addition to creating Hope Park, Richard has also created a third endowment to provide for the future maintenance of the park, ensuring its preservation.

At the center of the Hope Park project for Richard, from the start, was the children.

“Really, the kids here are the innocent victims of their particular situation,” he said. “I thought if I could turn a frown into a smile, that would be an achievement. Who knows, maybe they’ll be brought back someday having remembered the good times that they had here and want to be a part of this organization in some fashion. You never know where things like this will lead.”

By: Antoinette Vitale

Florida Camp Keystone Conservatory Dedication

For three decades, The Salvation Army has hosted the Longino Music Conservatory at Camp Keystone for children across the state of Florida, centrally operating in a building constructed in 1990. In late June 2019, current leadership joined forces with dignitaries from the past in dedicating a new, state-of-the-art facility.

“Today, we dedicate this house of glad remembrance for the youth of the Florida Division to gather to do three things,” said Commissioner John Busby, retired national commander and former divisional commander. “First, to improve their musical ability; second, to draw closer to their Heavenly Father; and third, to surrender their enhanced musicianship, developed here, to his honor and glory.”

The new building, constructed on the site of the old structure, includes purposely dedicated space for creative arts, percussion, vocal training, brass instrumentation and recital/concert hosting. In conjunction with the opening of the space, the final concert of The Salvation Army’s Florida Music Institute (FMI) took place, with six bands, five choruses and three creative arts ensembles comprising nearly 200 young people performing in a moving and uplifting way.

Within the dedication ceremony, thank-you messages were distributed to those who took part and FMI delegates commemorated the event with an artistic tribute. Stirring testimonies came to light, citing the impact that the division’s music programs have made and looking ahead to what is a bright future.

“I believe with all of my heart that this is a life-changing program,” said Major Elizabeth Birks, divisional secretary for business. “I can attest to the personal impact it had on my children and what I’ve seen myself. It’s an incredible blessing to see these young people rehearse, perform and grow, and we’re so grateful to all who made this project a dream come true.”

“As a product of The Salvation Army’s music programs myself, I’m excited for the opportunities this new facility will open up for our young people,” said Darryl Crossland, assistant divisional music director. “When children see an investment being made in their future in such a way, it gives them confidence to keep pursuing their dreams.”

The division’s Longino Senior Conservatory program began just hours after completion of FMI and the new facility is being utilized in continuous fashion, all with an eye toward the glory of God and worship through the arts.

“It’s a red-letter day for the Florida Division,” said Lt. Colonel Ken Luyk, divisional commander. “We’re here to celebrate the progress being made but, really, what it’s about is discipleship through musicianship and artistry. All of those are expressions of worship unto the Lord, and that’s why we’re here.”

To learn more about the programs offered for children in your local community, click here to find the location nearest to you.

 

By: Brad Rowland