Five student volunteers from Oakwood University are spending today helping escort a group of 14 children from a low-income community in southern Alabama as they observe the inauguration in Washington DC. The children are nine through 14 years of age and live in Foley, Alabama, according to the Huntsville Times.
An after-school children’s program at the John McClure Snook Youth Club in Foley organized the trip. Kishawn Knight, a 12-year-old sixth grader from Foley Intermediate School, “said he has never been that far away from home before,” the newspaper reported. “Most of the club’s participants live within an eight- to 10-block radius in Foley.”
The parents of the children raised the money for the trip, organizing fish fries and bake sales, as well as getting some funding from two local churches, civic groups and businesses. “None of the children could afford this,” said Deborah Ferguson, program director. The youth center is a local nonprofit that was formed after the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Alabama closed down operations in Baldwin County in 2008.
In addition to the volunteers from Oakwood University, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, another educational institution also helped make the trip possible. Lodging for the children and their chaperones was provided by Trinity Washington University, a Catholic school that began in 1897.
“It is a great way for our young adults to demonstrate what it means to be an Adventist,” a youth pastor told Adventist Today. “Take children to see an historic event that helps shape their values and rub shoulders with Christians of other faiths; it is the kind of activity that young adult ministry is all about.”
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