AC Pup, CARES to work in Pleasant Hill neighborhood

One of my favorite things to do is to work with children. I love children of all ages -- little children, big children and even bigger folks who act like children. So I had a fantastic time recently when my animal group Central Georgia CARES and I participated with the dynamic program coordinator, Miss Diana Hullings, in the Breakfast and Book Club at Strong Tower Fellowship Church.

It was an incredible time spent with a room full of first-, second- and third-graders who meet every Saturday. They get together at Strong Tower each week to develop an appreciation for reading, since everyone knows reading is the key to future success.

CARES decided not only to help the kids learn to read but also to teach compassion for animals at the same time. So we read the great children’s book “Animals Have Feelings Too” to the kids.

They seemed to really enjoy learning about the various emotions animals experience. We talked about basic pet care and how important it is to take really good care of their pets.

Then I sat with the kids and let them read to me. And, of course, I gave lots of sugar.

Strong Tower is located in the former Vineville Presbyterian Church that was established in 1904. Pastor Tom Anderson and his wife, Sara, helped open it in 2009 when Vineville Presbyterian dissolved. Strong Tower’s mission is to minister to the surrounding neighborhood, and it has been doing some pretty amazing things in the Pleasant Hill community ever since.

In addition to the Breakfast and Book Club, they offer the young neighborhood boys and girls skills that will serve them well in life. They learn about manners, social skills, community service, Bible study, baking, sewing, sports and, of course, they focus on homework, too.

They established a community garden where the kids plant and harvest food. When the time is just right, the kids will sell the harvest to help the church.

The church is also sustained through renovating and renting 12 houses and three duplexes they have. They’ve already finished most of them and even have tenants. They have three left to go at a cost of about $30,000 each.

In addition, they collect and sell books online, and they collect clothes and shoes to sell to a wholesaler in Atlanta. So the next time you clean out your closet, take your clothes and shoes over to the bin at Strong Tower.

Strong Tower is always looking for volunteers, especially other churches that would like to help out. They are especially grateful for First Presbyterian, North Macon Presbyterian and Vine­ville Methodist churches for helping them with not only volunteers for the Breakfast and Book Club but also with support for their programs.

CARES will also be helping residents in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood care for their pets. We will be offering education on caring for pets, especially information on spaying and neutering. And we’ll be giving vaccines for the neighborhood pets.

It’s so rewarding to see everybody pitching in to help the kids, the animals, the church and the neighborhood. Kind of makes a boy feel good.

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