Pastor's after-school program is helping parents - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pastor's after-school program is helping parents

April 27, 2004

Sumter County- On weekday afternoons, 60 kids ride down the drive of Zion Hope Baptist Church in a retired Sumter County school bus.

They're greeted by Pastor George Monts.

"Hey dear, how are you," he said to one young girl.

Monts started the after school program about three weeks ago. It's his vision and it's free.

"In the vision, God said do it. He never told me to add a price to it."

So for no charge, these kids settle in.

"Who's got homework?" Monts asked as every child in the room raised his or her hand.

They even chat about their day.

"Who got in trouble today?" he asked. "We'll talk about that later in my office."

Before they get to the hard stuff, they get a meal. This is part of Pastor Monts vision. To feed them physically, but also to feed them spiritually.

"God's expectation of the church is to step in and do what he has originally ordained the church to do," Monts said. "If the church don't get involved, we will lose kids continuously as we go along in life."

If they get lost doing homework, they don't have to look far for help. There's a volunteer at each table. Some of them are parents, like Diana Perry, who is helping out because her daughter enjoys it so much here.

"Every time she would come home, she would talk about it, so I decided to surprise her one day and just stop in and so I've been here ever since," Perry said.

So as busy as this church is now helping these young students sharpen their minds, they don't want their ministry to go dull.

"We want to grow as large as possible," Monts said. "We don't feel like there's a limit. This is only the foundation."

A foundation he wants to see grow from education program to education center.

For now, when they're done for the day, they load back on the bus that the church bought for only a buck. But what they're taking with them when they go is worth much more.

posted at 10:28 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com