Church launches new children’s programs to aid families

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It’s a concern of many parents, families and educators — a student backsliding over summer break, losing retention of a lot of what they learned over the school year. A local church is rolling out several programs, focused on aiding area families with not only trying to help children retain information and learn more over the summer break, but also to help parents with the logistics of making sure their children are in a safe, constructive environment.

Washington Assembly of God in Washington launched enrollment for its AZ (Adventure Zone) Summer Enrichment Program. The inaugural program encompasses a range of instruction and structure, both educational and faith-based, according to Tommi Bridgeman, children’s pastor and enrichment program coordinator for the church. The church is also gearing up to host its new before- and after-school programs.

Bridgeman said the church has space for such programs due to construction of a worship center years ago to accommodate a growing congregation. Dubbed its “Genesis” building, which is where the original church was housed, the facility has been outfitted to accommodate the children’s programs.

WASHINGTON-BEAUFORT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INUAGURAL LAUNCH: Washington Assembly of God celebrated the launch of its new children’s programs with a ribbon cutting, in partnership with the Washington-Beaufort Chamber of Commerce.

INUAGURAL LAUNCH: Washington Assembly of God celebrated the launch of its new children’s programs with a ribbon cutting, in partnership with the Washington-Beaufort Chamber of Commerce.

“We have all this facility space, and we were thinking about what we can do for our community,” Bridgeman said. “God has given us so much so we tried to think about what we could do with it. We’re blessed; what can we do to bless others? So we decided to expand our children’s program to include a summer enrichment program and a before- and after-school program.”

The summer program will emphasize math and reading, taught by certified teachers: Michaela Daniels, a certified math teacher, will work on math skills with different age groups through a math computer program and individualized programs she will develop based on the children’s needs; and Amber Waters, who came from teaching third and fourth-grade classes at Emmanuel Christian School, will focus on a summer reading program with participating children.

The program will also include field trips each Friday to various locations in the region, including Imagination Station of Wilson, Goose Creek State Park, N.C. Estuarium, Aurora Fossil Museum, Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck and others.

“We feel like, during summer, a lot of children get summer brain where they lose some of their reading comprehension and math skills,” Bridgeman said. “Our focus is to continue to build on what they learned throughout the school year and keep those skills strong for when they go back to school.”

The summer program will also include a chapel service each day and a theme of the week such as patience, friendship, manners and other character education, Bridgeman said. With a motto of “Equipping kids to know, grow and show God’s love,” the program ultimately offers full-circle instruction that will help guide and direct children in faith and their educational endeavors, while helping parents with the logistics of ensuring their children are cared for during the summer.

“We know that a lot of families struggle during the summer to find a place for their children to go,” Bridgeman said. “We’re hoping to offer a program where their kids can work on their educational skills, but also have a faith-based program to strengthen their spiritual being. We do that by focusing on the family. We want to come alongside the parents and partner with them. We want to assist the parents by helping the children. As far as the faith-based element, we want to share our faith in Jesus and show the children that he loves us and provides for us, and we want them to grow up knowing he cares about their daily lives.”

Once school starts back in August, the church will also launch its before- and after-school program, one that will aid families extensively, according to Bridgeman. Children participating in the before-school program will receive breakfast and transportation to school, which covers any type of delays, Bridgeman said. Its after-school program will entail picking up children from school, providing a snack and assistance with homework, something that will allow families to focus on spending time together, Bridgeman said.

“Our church motto is ‘Reaching up, Reaching out,’ and that’s what we’re doing—reaching up, praying to God to give us guidance and direction on what we can do for our community and reaching out into the community to assist families in any way we can,” Bridgeman said.

The summer program is open for public enrollment and will be held June 13 through Aug. 26 and costs $125 per week, with a $25 registration fee until the end of May. Those registering after May 30, will be charged a $40 fee. The before-school program costs $25 per week, and the after-school program costs $50 per week.

Washington Assembly of God is located at 2029 W. Fifth St. in Washington. For more information or to enroll in the programs, contact Tommi Bridgeman at 252-946-6185, email at, visit or on Facebook at