CORNELIUS – In his recent annual report, the head of the refugee tutoring program at Community in Christ Lutheran Church reported that the church’s outreach program has grown to be one of the largest in the Charlotte area, with 30 tutors and 35 to 40 children attending weekly.
According to Ron Major, who founded and directs the program, each child in the program started school at least two years behind their grade level. Besides weekly tutoring during the school year, the church offered the children a summer reading program.
In its ministry to 30 Montagnard families in the past year, the church and its members have:
• Donated book bags to 63 students at a school that many of the Montagnard children attend.
• Donated $1,500 for supplies to each teacher in the school.
• Donated 200 toys, including eight bikes.
• Provided enough furniture to furnish six “previously bare” apartments and 12 donated beds.
• Worked with two faith-based food banks, delivering more than 1,200 pounds of food to needy families.
• Secured and furnished an apartment for a homeless family.
• Helped children secure health care through Medicaid.
• Helped one Montagnard youth enroll at Central Piedmont Community College to begin work on a degree in political science.
• Helped three Montagnard boys attend Lutheridge, the Lutheran Church’s mountain retreat. The boys raised half the cost by spreading 4 tons of mulch for a member of Community in Christ.
According to Major, the church’s volunteer tutors range in age from 8 to 89 years old.
One volunteer has assumed legal guardianship of a Montagnard boy, who was removed from his home by social services.
Another volunteer arranged for another boy to attend a private Christian school, raising $35,000 for his tuition through sources outside Community in Christ Lutheran, Major said.
A college fishing club hosted a fishing trip for 20 refugee children, and the program raised enough money for a boy with musical talent to attend two music camps. With the donation of tickets, 30 Montagnard children also attended this year’s Renaissance Festival.
Volunteers also provided Montagnard families with transportation to emergency rooms, when medical emergencies occurred.
One “faith family” donated a used sport utility vehicle, and Al Holt, of Al’s Auto Repair, provided $2,500 in material and labor to repair the vehicle, which volunteers use to for the tutoring program.
Besides providing Halloween and Christmas parties for the children, members of Community in Christ and the Lake Norman Rotary Club “adopted” 21 Montagnard children for Christmas.
Unity Presbyterian Church has joined the tutoring program, and Community in Christ will conduct a workshop at the next meeting of the N.C. Lutheran Synod to tell other Lutheran congregations how they can start similar programs in their communities.
Anyone interesting in joining the tutoring program should e-mail Major at email@example.com.