|Scrub Club kids wash wheelchairs, walkers|
A UMNS Feature
By John Gordon*
Oct. 29, 2009 | TULSA, Oklahoma
Lucille Slicker, 92, pulls in to have her wheelchair washed by Taylor
Kellum-Webb (left) and Chyna Mayer at the Oklahoma Methodist Manor in
UMNS photos by John Gordon.
TULSA, Oklahoma--Fifth- and sixth-graders at an Oklahoma church are
reaching across generations—washing wheelchairs and walkers at nursing
homes--and proving that mission work appeals to all ages.
Members of the Scrub Club at Christ United Methodist Church in Tulsa
don’t seem to mind giving up a few hours on Saturdays, when they could
be playing video games or watching cartoons at home. Instead, they’re
volunteering their time to visit retirement homes with their mops and
“I just like helping out people,” says Troy Amos, 12, while cleaning
wheelchairs and walkers at Oklahoma Methodist Manor. “And I like
Peggy Asher, 85, watches as the group scrubs her wheelchair. Asher
knows a bit about the younger generation. She’s a retired school
“I am impressed with how they stayed with the job,” Asher tells the
children. “Because sometimes kids work a little bit, they lose their
enthusiasm. But you were so nice to come and we really appreciate you
Ed Schmitt, 97, also looks on as his walker is cleaned.
Members of the Scrub Club get to work cleaning wheelchairs and walkers.
“I won’t know it now,” he jokes.
The Scrub Club is part of a children’s group organized at Christ United
Methodist Church in June. The group is growing steadily, reaching about
20 members in the first two months.
Susan Tindell, children’s ministry director at the church, came up with
the idea of the Scrub Club as a community outreach. Methodist Manor is
the second retirement home visited by the kids.
“We kind of tried to reach an age that wasn’t really being reached,”
explains Tindell. “Our fifth- and sixth- graders, they were too young
for the youth group but they were too old for children’s. And they had
a heart to do fun things and they wanted to do some of the mission work
that youth did.”
Tindell wants the outreach to do more than clean walkers and
wheelchairs. She hopes to build ongoing relationships between the
children and residents of the retirement homes.
“It’s fun to learn about the past and another person’s point of view,” says Josh Smith, 10.
Tindell, children’s ministry director at Christ United Methodist
Church, came up with the idea of the Scrub Club to encourage youngsters
to build relationships with seniors.
Smith says the Scrub Club puts the golden rule into action.
“Do unto others,” he says. “And when I get old, I’m going to want people to do the same thing.”
Chyna Mayer, 10, and several other Scrub Club members enjoy a visit to the room of one of Methodist Manor’s residents.
“She showed me her garden and she was just really nice to me,” says Mayer.
Tindall is not surprised at the turnout, with nearly all the members of
the children’s program showing up for the wheelchair wash.
“You’ve got to give them opportunities,” she says. “We just assume that
kids don’t want to do these things. Well, this just shows the
opposite--we gave the kids the opportunity and they all showed up and
they had a great time.”
Madison Erickson, 10, notices the smiles on the faces of the Methodist Manor residents.
“They don’t really have a lot of company. So having us come around here, I think, really makes them happy,” she says.
Asher, the retired teacher, says the wheelchair wash also offers a glimpse into the future.
“A lot of older people talk about young kids all going to the dogs. I
know better than that, because I’ve taught an awful lot of good kids,”
“And I think I’ve seen a lot of them here, too.”
*Gordon is a freelance producer and writer based in Marshall, Texas.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web link: Christ United Methodist Church children’s ministries http://www.cumctulsa.com/Children.htm
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