FCS helps Guatemalan child

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Clanton Middle School Fellowship of Christian Students’ impact is going beyond their campus through a Compassion International child sponsorship.

Compassion International is a nonprofit focused on helping children out of poverty.

Club sponsor Chad Harrison and the student leadership team chose this as a project at the beginning of the school year.

Each week FCS students make donations toward the $38 monthly sponsorship.

Harrison said these funds “help with spiritual, educational, economic, health and safety need” for the child.

Eighth-grade student Avree Parrish is a part of the FCS leadership team. Parrish said Harrison had asked the FCS leadership to look at Compassion’s website and choose a child for the club to sponsor.

She and the other two leadership team members were considering three different children before selecting Katherine in Guatemala.

“There is a lot of poverty in Guatemala, and her mother is not employed only her father,” Parrish said. “We also wanted to do someone that was closer to our age, so that we could understand them.”

Autumn Jones, eighth grade, said she had not realized just how high the poverty rate was in Guatemala until the group sponsored Katherine.

According to information provided on Katherine’s bio, 54 percent of Guatemalans live below the poverty line.

Katherine is 12 years old.

Marlee Hardee, an eighth-grade student, said she enjoyed being able to help sponsor Katherine because she has a passion for helping people.

“I like getting to see what it does for her life,” Hardee said.

The students receive letters from Katherine, along with a translation into English. These letters are read aloud during FCS meetings or passed around for students to read.

Eighth-grade student Thomas Cleckler said he has enjoyed reading her responses.

“She is not as privileged as us, and it really shows us that anything that you can do for people that aren’t as privileged as us can help them out,” Cleckler said.

He said one of the letters was really just a thank you note.

CMS students have also written to Katherine at Christmas and for her birthday.

“I like being able to see how I can help her and how she can grow as a person,” Anna Cleckler said.

Emma Deason said she was glad she was able to be a part of Katherine’s “decision for Jesus and her relationship with him … and changing her life.”

Students have also collected additional donations for special gifts for Katherine’s birthday and at Christmas.

“I like knowing that I am helping someone because they don’t have what we have,” Jones said

Many of the eighth-grade students began attending the club when they were in sixth grade, but became more regular attenders as they got older.

“I started going in sixth grade and then I got baptized that summer, and it made me more interested in coming to FCS,” Thomas Clecker said.

Jones said she hoped her attendance in the club inspires other students to attend. She said she enjoyed the variety of speakers that come to the meetings.

“I was interested in being a part of it because I like listening to other people interpretations … of the Bible,” Hardee said.

Anna Cleckler, who is in eighth grade, said she joined the club because she enjoys hearing people talk about God.

“I like to be with a group of students who have the same mindset as me just to hear God’s Word and share God’s Word and I think schools in today really need Jesus,” Parrish said.

Deason, an eighth-grade student, said she enjoyed FCS because it was an “open environment” where the students shared common beliefs.

“I really wanted to be a part of it (FCS) because I wanted to better understand my relationship with God,” Ana Nunn said. “I enjoy that we get to help others and that it is open to everyone.”

FCS meets every Wednesday at 7:15 a.m. with a different speaker each week.