Los Vecinos

Los Vecinos translated into English means, “The Neighbors.” As Christians, we are called to love and serve our neighbors. Our ministry seeks to invest in and build relationships with the Hispanic, impoverished families residing in Chesterfield.

The Los Vecinos Hispanic Outreach is a ministry of The Journey that seeks to care for some of our most overlooked neighbors residing in the Chesterfield Mobile Home Park. Los Vecinos translated into English means “The Neighbors.” As Christians, we are called to love and serve our neighbors with special attention to those that are most in need, just as Christ did. This ministry offers a unique opportunity to fulfill that calling.

PROGRAMS

Over the last two years, members of The Journey have supported the low-income families of this community through an after-school and summer tutoring program. We have had 50 children ages 4 through 12 attend our programming. We are blessed to run our programs out of two trailers located in the neighborhood. This allows the children to easily walk to our programming and gives volunteers the opportunity to safely walk children home. We have been able to work with reading specialists to develop tailored reading programs and individualize math curriculum for students that need additional support. One of our most impactful activities has been working with our Pre-K children to quickly develop early English and basic skills. Our goal is to pair each volunteer with one to two children to offer individualized academic support and foster genuine relationships. Through our ministry, we strive to provide resources that help the children develop spiritually, academically, and emotionally.

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GET INVOLVED!

We have many opportunities to get involved! Please consider helping us love and serve in this community of some of our most vulnerable neighbors. For more information on our volunteer opportunities, program needs, or to help us connect with field trips and new activities, please contact Melissa Walthart at mwalthart@thejourney.org.

Our summer program will begin June 12 and run through August 3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. 

Our 6-week program will offer enrichment activities for children two afternoons a week. We will focus on stopping brain drain over the summer months so students can return to school in the fall on track to succeed in their new grade. We will also provide high-quality field trips and experiences that are typically out of reach for low-income families. We need volunteers who are willing to chaperone, tutor, or share special skills (arts, sports, music, etc.).

We have an immediate need for volunteers for our summer program!

We will not meet the week of June 18, so the children can attend the Ascension Catholic Church's summer camp. We will also not meet the week of July 4 for Independence Day. 

I'M INTERESTED!

SKILLS AND SUPPLIES NeedED

Immediate Needs

  • Snacks – Individually packaged snacks (fruit snacks, fruit leather, goldfish, teddy grahams, applesauce squeezers, etc., Dixie (small) cups, plastic utensils, Brita water filters)
  • School supplies – Washable markers, colored pencils, tempera paint, erasers, single subject notebooks, card stock, Elmer's glue, children's scissors, coloring books, note cards, educational games, learning activities, miscellaneous craft supplies (pipe cleaners, stickers, pom poms, glitter, trim, yarn, etc.)
  • Other – Electrician (install outlet), roofing for a small porch, handyman to rehang door, refrigerator, gas stove, door frame and hinges, soccer balls, and outdoor games

Extensive Wishlist

  • Oven hood 
  • Gas oven 
  • Refridgerator
  • Gravel for pot hole/mud hole 
  • Shingles (9x9 space)
  • 3 pieces pretreated fiberboard

Handyman Needs

  • Interior painting
  • New door frame
  • Door rehung 
  • New porch roof
  • Trailer roof resealed 
  • Construction trash pile removed 
  • Hedges trimmed
  • New window blinds hung 
  • Mudding cracks and holes
  • New sliding bathroom door lock
  • New outlet

School Supplies

  • Cardstock
  • Single subject notebook
  • Children scissors
  • Elmer's glue
  • Washable markers
  • Notecards
  • Tempera paint
  • Educational games
  • Learning activities (hot dots, legos, STEM, etc.)
  • Craft supplies (popsicle sticks, pom poms, glitter, etc.)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand soap

Snacks and Supplies

  • Plastic utensils
  • Dixie cups (very small)
  • Plastic cups
  • Paper towels
  • Clorox wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand soap
  • Low sugar, low mess
  • Freezy pops
  • Fruit leather
  • Applesauce squeezers
  • Fruit snacks
  • Chips, etc. 
  • Tall kitchen trash bags

Tutors
Help children ages 4-13 with math and reading homework, as well as leading enrichment activities like sports, games, science experiments, and crafts.

  • Tuesday or Thursday, 2-4 p.m.
  • We ask for a summer-long commitment for each of our tutors. We have similar roles available for our school year program.

Snack Sponsors
We try to provide the children with low-sugar snacks at our after-school program twice a week. Our numbers range from 15-25 children each day. Snack sponsors can provide one day's to one month's worth of snacks at a time through the donation of bulk shelf stable snacks, money, or you may bring fresh snacks to be served the same day.

Enrichment Activity Leaders
In addition to offering academic support, we strive to offer enrichment activities that expose our kids to new experiences and aspirations. If you or someone you know has a talent (art, science, music, sports, etc.) or access to a special opportunity (sporting, university, animals, event, etc.) we would love you to share it with the children.

Work Days and One-time Opportunities
We have many minor tasks that we need help with at our sites. We can set up times for individuals to come by or organize full workdays for community groups. A sampling of these tasks are listed here but many more opportunities exist based on volunteers’ skills and availability!

Literacy Library Organization
We have been blessed with many donated books. We need help to categorize them by age level and reading difficulty. This allows us to track our students' progress through their reading programs. 

Craft Corner 
We hope to cultivate the arts and offer as much exposure to different activities as possible to inspire creativity and new aspirations. We have many art supplies that need to be organized and stored in a more usable fashion.

Cosmetic Repairs
We have a few small holes that need to be patched and all of the walls could use a coat of paint. We are hoping for some happy colors to help inspire our kids and offer a fun and welcoming environment. 

Indoor Clean-Up
The trailer sat vacant before the school-year programming began, and we have just completed some renovations. Everything needs a good cleaning to get it back to a happy environment for our kids. 

Outdoor Clean-Up
Having completed some major structural repairs, we have a bit of debris left over. We are looking for a trailer or large truck bed and strong hands to help us haul materials away. There is also an opportunity in the spring to help us make the outside of our site more inviting with raking, flower boxes, planting, and painting the porch. This would be a wonderful addition and a great community group activity but is not a critical need.

Donation Organization
In preparation for future programs in this community, we have received generous donations of emergency/pantry goods. We need a group to simply sort through these donations (mostly adult clothing, toys, and kitchen items) and organize them in our storage pantry.

Handyman Workday
We have had a donation of kitchen cabinets and counters to replace our current kitchen which is severely water damaged. We are in need of a few handy volunteers to help remove the old cabinetry and install our donated pieces. We also have a few other smaller structural issues in need of basic repairs.

Thank you for your interest in our ministry! If you would like to volunteer or have any questions, please contact the program manager, Melissa Walthart at mwalthart@thejourney.org.

Questions?

Contact Melissa Walthart at mwalthart@thejourney.org.