Updated: Jun 3, 2019
One of the most important parts of an EY2S mission trip is our Vacation Bible School (VBS). Student missionaries are challenged to organize and lead their own VBS for children ages 5-12 attending the summer camp at Young Terrace Recreation Center. The recreation center, located in the Young Terrace neighborhood, hosts kids from all over Norfolk for a summer of activities.
Young Terrace is located right across the street from the Urban Discovery Ministries (UDM) building, where the student missionaries are staying. Inside of Young Terrace is a game room, daycare room, a community health center, gym, and a kitchen.
Prestine Russell, a Recreation Specialist, has been working at Young Terrace for over 11 years. During the school year Mrs. Russell works in the before-care program, taking care of the children before they go to school every morning. For her, making sure these young children know they are loved is most important. Everyday as she takes them to school she tells them “I love you and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“You don’t know if they get it at home,” she said. Growing up she said that she couldn’t leave the house without hearing I love you and have a great day. For that reason she wants to make sure these children hear the same thing
Mrs. Russell loves the EY2S VBS for how the students and leaders pour into the children.
“They give so much to the kids,” she said.
We want all the student missionaries to be empowered as they create and lead their VBS. On Monday, students take a tour of the Young Terrace and are introduced to Mrs. Foye, who is in charge of the recreation center.
Afterwards, students are divided up into teams: one group is in charge of games, another crafts and music, and a third story and snacks. They then spend the rest of the day planning what they are going to do with their team members.
Tuesday through Thursday students lead VBS. Everyday they are challenged, but they also form deep and lasting connections with the children. For some student missionaries who have now become leaders, getting to impact the same children at Young Terrace year after year was a huge draw to the ministry of EY2S.
Not only is EY2S active in Young Terrace during the summer, but we have been blessed to work with their after-school program during the rest of the year. EY2S staff members Sam and Lydia have been helping younger students with their homework. Then, while the students go over to eat dinner at PB Young Elementary across the street, they are volunteering with older kids who play basketball in the gym.
We are immensely grateful to the welcoming and open hearts of the recreation staff. People like Mrs. Russell, Mrs. Foye, Mr. Rollings, Mr. Bell and Ms. Colbert are there everyday making a difference in the lives of the students. It is such a blessing to be able to volunteer with them.