Community Care Ministries–a new source of volunteers

by Marilyn K. Moulton, Lt. Colonel – 

Once we had League of Mercy. It became a hospital visitation program and the valuable work of hundreds of volunteers seemed limited. We found many more needs within communities crying out for remedy. Thus, the League of Mercy expanded and became the Community Care Ministries—the LOM became the CCM.

We also discovered a major pool of willing and available members. Youth!
When asked the question: “You will feel you are a priority in The Salvation Army when …” the youth responded by saying “when they are allowed to serve others, participate in the corps’ ministries, and when they are trained and equipped for service.” Thus was born the “Junior Community Care Ministries”—the JCCM.

With careful training and specific coaching, this type of ministry gives our young people the opportunity to participate significantly while contributing to the corps’ holistic ministry efforts.
Being a Junior Community Care Ministries member encourages them to feel like they are a vital part of the corps and its ministry. It is a great way to involve the children at an early age, and an ideal way to teach children about caring for others. It also allows the youth to experience the joy of “helping others.”

One corps wrote the following goals in planning for a Jr. CCM group. It asks them to:
• learn to recognize “need”
• practice helping others
• learn leadership skills

Junior CCM is a wonderful opportunity for training future CCM leaders and participants. As a result the youth look forward to visiting nursing homes with excitement—helping them understand something about the aging process which will help build compassion into their lives.

The ministry of Community Care members can be such an inspiration to those on the receiving end. Puppets, skits, pictures, songs, parties, dance, timbrels, bands, washing a window, sweeping a porch, sharing a gift at Christmas, or making a valentine for a veteran—these are just a few ways that our youth are able to participate in the community.

The following are excerpts from letters written by some of our Jr. CCM members on the question “What does Junior Community Care Ministries mean to you?”

Mary (age 12) “I like being in the Jr. CCM because it feels great to be active in a group. I get to learn how to do new things, meet new people and make new friends. My favorite thing is going to the convalescent homes and singing for the residents. By being in the Jr. CCM I’ve learned you need to live your whole life for God and not wait until the last few years!”

Danika (age 14) “When I do stuff with our Jr. CCM group I feel good that I am helping people. I like getting recognition for doing something good. When we do visits and stuff I enjoy it all. God has taught me how not to judge people by their mental or physical condition, but to look inside and see the value of their heart. ”

Daniel (age 12) “I like being in the Jr. CCM. It makes me feel good to help people. It helps me to build confidence in myself to go to different places and talk with a lot of different people.”

Edwin (age 9) “When I do stuff with our Jr. CCM group I feel respectful and helpful. I like going to the convalescent home, visiting with people and just making them feel better. My favorite thing is to dance for the residents in the convalescent homes. God is teaching me to be respectful for the elderly when I do Jr. CCM visits.”

Walter (age 13) “I like Jr. CCM because it makes me feel better about myself. My favorite thing to do is to go visiting in convalescent homes. I also like it when I get to help with the devotional. By doing stuff with the people at the rest homes God is helping me to be more patient with everything around me.”

Jacob (age 12) “Our Jr. CCM makes me feel good and happy because I am a part of something special. I like going around talking with the people because they listen and I can learn from them. God is teaching me patience. I like the good feeling I get from helping people.”

As we reach out to the youth in our territory by “making ministry to youth a priority” our youth are responding to the ministry of Community Care Ministries. They are serving others, they are participating in the corps holistic ministries and they are being trained and equipped for further service in The Salvation Army. God gives them the opportunity to show that they love him and love their neighbors by sharing his love.
I pray that the ministry of Community Care will continue to grow and be a blessing to many people in our communities.


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