Category: Diakon Youth Services

Happy Halloween…but first, let us take a selfie

Every few months we hold photo contests for our Diakon staff members. Originally, we launched a contest to obtain content for our 27 Diakon Facebook pages, but the process has evolved into a fun way of bringing staff together with one another and the people they serve.

Our last employee Facebook photo contest was themed as the “fall selfie” edition. We had so many terrific entries from a multitude of Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries programs and Diakon Senior Living campuses that we wanted to share some of them here.

Taking Flight to Haiti

Earlier this year, participants and staff of the Flight Program had the opportunity to participate in a Haiti mission trip. They took care of the needs of orphanage children and spent time playing, coloring, writing letters to sponsors, opening gifts, making bracelets and assisting the nursing staff with the kids’ annual physicals. They stayed very busy in the hot, muggy weather! Along with working with the children, Flight participants had the opportunity to work alongside other missions team members in a variety of ways. They assisted the nurses, worked with the builders and even went door-to-door in a tent city to hand out supplies and pray with families. The Flight participants were moved outside of their comfort zones and, through that process, learned a lot about themselves. They learned how strong, resilient and capable they are. They left a lasting effect on Haiti and with the kids of the orphanages, and Haiti left a lasting impact on all of them. One of the participants shared about his experience:

Entertainment or addiction?

“Megan is glued to her phone texting her boyfriend and ‘bestie’. I wish I knew how to get her to cut back.”

“I haven’t figured out a good way to limit iPod/computer time yet. Sometimes I allow them an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Then the next day, I let them play all day. I’m not consistent with it. What drives me really crazy is when we are doing something together and all of the sudden one disappears and goes to play Minecraft without me knowing (I think he/she is heading to the bathroom).”

Do these statements sound as if they’re describing your family?

It has been a few weeks since school ended and children are home for the summer. How many of them, however, are glued to their cell phones or computers?

While most children and teens enjoy using their cell phones and computers for playing games and connecting with others via social media and can do so responsibly, engaging too frequently in these types of activities—in which use becomes obsessive—may be more harmful than just being an annoying habit. “Process addictions,” such as rampant overuse of cell phones and the Internet, are becoming of increased concern because of possible health risks. Some countries in Asia, in fact, are labeling these addictions as some of their nations’ most significant public health risks.

Being a father to the fatherless

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 24.7 million children live apart from their biological fathers; many have little or no contact with them at all. The consequences of this statistic are overwhelming, considering that children lacking a father figure in their lives are at an increased risk of mental illness, behavioral issues, poverty, suicide, and substance abuse, and they are 20 times more likely to get in trouble with the law.

But there is still hope for these young people. There are men in our communities and extended families who have been filling in that gap by mentoring and “fathering” those who need it most. Several students who have been involved with Diakon Youth Services shared their stories of how someone took time to be a father figure and have a life-changing effect on their lives.

Life lessons in the garden

It was 10 a.m. on a summer day around this time last year.

I am standing in the tomato patch at Cumberland Crossings, a Diakon senior living community in Carlisle, Pa. Next to me are Denzel, a student from Diakon’s Center Point Day Treatment Program, and Elena, an intern from Dickinson College.

I reach my hand into the tomato plant in front of me to grab a ripe cherry tomato hidden under some branches, but my hand encounters something along the stem soft and squishy. I pull the branch down to take a better look and find a tomato horn worm.

He said/she said – Corey and Kelly Carothers

Corey Carothers is the executive director of Diakon Youth Services. He is married to Kelly and they have two children (and one on the way!). Corey also was a chef challenger in this week’s Dining with Diakon – Central Pennsylvania. Last year, he and youth services colleague Anthony Stukes won the 2013 Chef Challenge by raising over $12,000! Corey is committed to the mission at Diakon and goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist youths on a regular basis. Kelly is right beside him as a huge support. We asked them to share some thoughts with us ….