That Ain't Right!
When tall, heavy set Destiny arrived at camp her only shoes were her flip flops. She came with other things though - wounds from a gang that jumped her in her neighborhood. Destiny was thirteen years old. That ain't right.
That Ain’t Right!!!
Jason is 11- he has several neat looking white stars on his dark skinned legs- he got these scars from a neighborhood shooting. That ain’t right. Most teenage girls love babies; for Maria, 14, babies bring up a lot of pain- she has had an abortion. I don’t know the rest of her story but something screams inside my heart, that ain’t right. Michelle, 13, made a friend on facebook, and he made her feel really special - until he raped her. That ain’t right. Devon has several fathers: his birth father- who is getting out of prison real soon, his half brother’s dad– who was just incarcerated, and his mom’s new boyfriend– who is out on bail. That ain’t right. Terron is a peace maker; at 14 he often breaks up fights- between his mother and her boyfriends. That ain’t right. Except for the names being changed, these are stories of the kids who come to Camp David of the Ozarks.
The United States of America has the highest prison population in the world. Per capita it is only exceeded by Rwanda as a result of it’s genocide massacre. That ain’t right. There are an estimated 2 million children in the USA that have one or both of their parents in prison; an estimated 40,000 of these children are in Missouri. These children make up two out of three children in the juvenile correctional system. Some estimates state as many as 70% of these children will end up in the correctional system. That ain’t right.
“So, what are you going to do about it?” As a bullied second grader those words deflated me like a air raft on a bed of nails. But we're not in second grade any more...So, what are you going to do about it?
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” 2 Corinthians 16:9
Can camp make a difference in urban youth? We firmly believe that addressing the needs of children of prisoners will have a significant social, economic, and moral impact on American society. By teaching campers healthy ways of relating to God and others, CDO greatly reduces the likelihood of their involvement in crime, gangs, and addictions.
What are others saying?
Rev. Wilson, Director of the Institute for Prison Ministries says, “Most youth from the inner city live their lives in a ten-mile radius, never venturing anywhere else. At camp, there are no sirens, no drive-by shootings, no helicopters. Camp helps them to relax, rewind, and see the bigger picture.”
Letter from Laura L. Valenti, former Jail Administrator, Laclede County Sheriff’s Department:
That ain't right isn’t correct English. Almost everyone of us learned that in kindergarten, and from a young age we also knew in our hearts a sense of justice and a knowledge that children were meant to be loved. So when a child is mistreated something deep in our hearts screams. That ain’t right!!!