COMMITTED TO OUTREACH
Anaheim Red Shield
A YOUNGSTER ENJOYS playing firefighter at “Splish Splash.”
BY CAPTAIN RONALEE FENRICH –
The Anaheim Red Shield Center opened its doors in March 1996 and continues its commitment to address the needs of its neighbors in the Anaheim, CA, area. As the local community grows and changes, so does the Anaheim Red Shield Center! In addition to having an active aquatics department, it also operates an education department and youth department.
The aquatics department has offered swim therapy programs for seniors since its opening. Each day, several dozen seniors use the heated pool to swim at their own pace, and several dozen more attend formal exercise and joint therapy classes. In addition to free play for the youth department and “family swim” in the evenings, they now sponsor their own competitive swim team, offer year round private swimming lessons, and inexpensive group swimming lessons during the summer season.
The Red Shield’s youth department began as an after school drop-in center for approximately 40 children from the elementary school across the street. When a second elementary school was built next to the first to address the problem of classroom overcrowding, the center expanded its department to accommodate up to 200 children with a media room, craft room, two game rooms, and a computer lab.
When the schools went to a year-round schedule, they began offering allday care for the children “off track.” When certain grades began attending school in shifts, they began offering before school care. As the need expanded, so did the Red Shield.
Our education department began by offering after school homework assistance for 20-30 children each afternoon. It has now expanded to include after school homework assistance for 50-60 children and a reading library. A program called “Discovery Trek” was designed to help 2nd and 3rd graders working below their grade level keep up in school. During their month “off track,” up to 21 children can spend their mornings–free of charge–in the education department getting support in their reading, language arts, and mathematical skills. With more and more schools eliminating their fine arts departments, the education department oversees their art academy, which gives children instruction in ballet, jazz dance, drama and vocal technique. This, also, is offered to children free of charge.
With the growth and change within the Anaheim Red Shield Center, their primary goal has never been forgotten: to bring people to the love and salvation of Jesus Christ.
A full-time Christian education director on staff works along side the corps officers, Captains Ron and Ronalee Fenrich, to ensure that Jesus Christ is a part of all they do. The C.E. director helps incorporate “Sunday school fun” into the various departments; he runs a daily Christian Club, a weekday Sunday school assembly, and coordinates an annual vacation Bible school for over 250 children.
This faithfulness to their mission has not gone unrewarded! Over the past year, the Anaheim Red Shield Corps has welcomed many new families, children and seniors into its Sunday services as a result of its ministry of outreach. “We firmly believe that every service we provide to our neighbors can be consecrated to God and used by him,” said Ron Fenrich.