KidsPeace has been providing services to children since 1882. At the main KidsPeace campus in Orefield, PA, an important aspect of each child's treatment is the opportunity to participate in religious or spiritual activities during their free time. Marian Schappell and Tony Jefferson are part-time spirituality teachers and chaplains to the children of KidsPeace, and they fulfill their ministry by recruiting members of the local religious community and KidsPeace associates to volunteer with the children. A diverse group of dedicated clergy and lay people donate their time and love to conduct religious services, teach spirituality, mentor and listen to the children, sing, pray, play basketball and be there for the children on a regular basis.
To thank all of these volunteers for their important contributions, KidsPeace hosted an appreciation breakfast this week to thank all of those who spend their time with the children. Among the attendees were pastors and chaplains of a number of Lehigh Valley churches and associations, members of the Parkland Ministerium, volunteers who teach and advise the children and KidsPeace associates who are members of the Spirituality Committee. Several KidsPeace children attended as well to express their thanks to the wonderful volunteers who help them so much. One young man performed a rap he wrote encouraging others to pray and try hard, while a young woman sang a poignant song and told her story of life before KidsPeace. Another young lady told her story, thanking Marian for all of the help she provided to her in her recovery. Katya, a volunteer, sang a song she composed for the KidsPeace children that asks that all be released from the darkness and see God in others. Another young man discussed how Islam has turned him into a better person and praised volunteers from the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley who teach teens about the Koran, prayers and how to model Islamic behavior. One of the pastors spoke about bringing God to the children, giving them the courage to open up and trust others.
After enjoying a wonderful breakfast with KidsPeace associates and several youth, the volunteers joined into a prayer circle and sang along with Marian to give thanks for all of their gifts from God. It was a touching tribute to these unselfish men and women who work so hard to bring the kids peace and healing.
Marian Schappell joins Deacon Charles Coyle and Msgr. Robert Wargo at KidsPeace appreciation breakfast.