Kyle, SP staff in Bangkok, shares how their after-school program strives to keep kids away from the lure of drugs.
Suwan Prasit is a small community in Bangkok with some amazing kids. But one of the dangers of being a kid in Suwan Prasit is the drug problem. It's one of the biggest concerns that parents in the neighborhood have regarding their children. One mother, after clarifying that her family has nothing to do with drugs, estimated that over 80% of the households on her street have connections to drugs in one way or another. She explained that by age twelve, many children are already involved in trafficking drugs. I'm not sure how accurate her statistic are, but it is nonetheless cause for alarm.
As our interns, Gary and Limxuv, and I continued to interview parents and to discuss their concerns with local leaders, an opportunity arose to host a productive after-school activity for kids in the community in response to these parents' desires. We coordinated with the local preschool, churches, and young adults we knew in the community to bring together a weekly English and guitar course that spanned the better part of this last school term.
It was an amazing success. Over 20 children from ages eight to twelve joined us regularly each week. But more impressively, we were faithfully joined by five Thai youth volunteers from the community. This is almost unheard of! Praise God for the way he brought this together, because not only were we able to create a safe space for children in the community to learn and grow, we were also able to engage young adults in the community as they experimented with volunteering, planning lessons, and, for those who are Christian, sharing Christ's love with kids in the community.
This class opened up the doors for a fantastic Christmas party as well. It was full of games, songs, the story of Jesus' birth, and an invitation to learn more about Jesus, something all 20 of the kids took up! Pray for these children and young adults that the Lord would protect them in this community, open up further opportunities to grow, and reveal himself to these, the pure in heart!