July 29, 2013
I would like to give props to a local organization that some don’t even know exists around in these parts: The SIFAT Organization(Servants in Faith & Technology). This organization is located in a very rural area that spans over 167 acres just a few miles past the Randolph County line and I can’t say enough about all of the good they do. We are so fortunate to have an amazing place like this so close to home that is filled with such caring people.
Earlier in the summer, my 16 year old stepson, Michael was given the opportunity to attend The Learn& Serve (L&S) summer training experience at SIFAT. This 5-day, 6- night program in a Christian-based atmosphere helps educate your child on the hardships of poverty-stricken third world countries through simulations and demonstrations on an interactive level. Every day of this program brought about new adventures for this youth group, and they rose to the challenge of each one of them.
The education they received may not sound like something they will ever use, but it taught them much invaluable information on to use every natural resource they could find if needed. They learned what plants were high in nutritional value in the event they were ever faced with a situation where nourishment was an issue. They learned to build sack gardens, a method used in countries when they don’t have enough land to plant a big garden and they learned how to build a small fire stove with rocks and/or bricks. These are just a few of the things they learned.
They endured a real life “48 hour slum experience” in global villages and urban slum. Some of these countries they “traveled” to were Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria. The sobering experience began with their basic necessities and all means of communication being taken by “smugglers”, leaving them no way to rely on the modern technology they have become so accustomed to. They were taught how to work for their food and to pay rent. The guys would dig ditches or make mud bricks and the girls would sew to pay their way. They learned about food rations during their time at the refugee camp, having to share a bowl of rice with nine people at one point. Michael still talks about this, because that boy loves to eat!
On their “Community Day”, the two youth groups did their part to help their communities in need. Michael’s group was taken to Clay County Christian Academy to pick blueberries to be sold at the Blueberry Festival the next day. The other group was taken to a local trailer park to assist with whatever was needed and play with the children that lived there. They enjoyed a cookout afterwards and a game of soccer with the children from the trailer park.
Throughout their stay, there was not one conflict between anyone this youth group at all. It was a peaceful trip that every child who attended fully enjoyed to the fullest extent. It’s very rare that a child is fortunate enough to be in the company of such a positive environment. Each morning started out with a worship service and each night ended with one.
When I went to pick up Michael on Friday, I was greeted by these very enthusiastic children along with their counselors. Everyone was just so nice… It was very refreshing!
To say that I was impressed with this program would be putting it mildly I would recommend it to anyone. I was worried that Michael would be bored and want to come home, but he had a wonderful time. He made several new friends from different states that he still keeps in contact with them.
When I asked him what he learned from this experience, he said he learned to appreciate everything more, his food, freedom, etc. He said he also learned that some people have it a lot worse than we do.
I applaud Tom Corson and everyone is the SIFAT family for the wonderful job they do with this program and I encourage you to learn more about this establishment. It is simply amazing! This program is just a fraction of what they have to offer at this facility.
For those of you who are not familiar with SIFAT, visit their website: www.sifat.org or their facebook page: :https://www.facebook.com/sifatbook
Hope everyone has a great week! I will be working in refreshments at this Thursday night’s Summer Sizzle. Be sure to stop by and see me. You can’t miss this one! It’s your very last chance to check out some great local talent. Clay County’s favorite boys will be there rocking the stage: Kevin Moon & The Outlaw Justice Band. They never disappoint!
Also, for all you Elvis lovers out there. World Famous Elvis Impersonator David Lee will be performing at The Historical Ashland Theatre August 3rd and it’s almost sold out! Get them before they are gone! Seats are limited and it’s going to be a great show!
Shout out to Robin Steele Thornhill and the cast of FAME Jr. for their outstanding performances last weekend also at The Ashland Theatre. It is so wonderful to see such great young talent within our county and Robin does such an amazing job helping them develop it. I wish we had more programs like this out there for our youth.
Until next time…