enjoys caring for children, just ASK her
Daily Leader, The (Pontiac, IL) - Saturday, October 27, 2012
Author: Carol Winters; The Daily Leader
Danette Forbes '90, is the new highly qualified and very enthusiastic
director of the First United Methodist Church of Pontiac's After School
Ministry: After School Kids (ASK).
She received her bachelor's degree in business administration and
marketing in the fine arts and minored in theatre at Monmouth College
in Monmouth. Later, she received her master's degree in Christian
education with an emphasis on children and family ministry from Union
Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va.
Forbes has served in a variety of child-oriented programs including
acting as the interim director of Christian education in Morris and
working with the after school program there. As a nanny and governess,
she has raised more than 25 children and has cared for more than 100.
Many people may know Forbes as she has been a substitute teacher in
District #429 as well.
Forbes is an enthusiastic person and just one of those people with a
smile on her face and cheery attitude. Mary Poppins has nothing on her.
"I just love kids. Since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be
a mom. Kids just naturally come to me for hugs," Forbes said.
Nothing seems to faze her - youngster collisions, snack chaos, game
time, and the phrase, "I gotta go to the bathroom NOWWWW," is all part
of the routine. When a job is dealing with students ranging from
kindergarteners through sixth graders after a long day at school, a
director has to have patience and creativity.
To be a part of the fun, just call the staff at First United Methodist
Church at 815-842-1157. The cost is $5 a day for one child and $8 a day
for two or more children in the same family. ASK follows the District
#429 school calendar and is closed on early dismissal days, school
holidays and school vacations. Hours are after school until 5 p.m. The
children are bused from the school to the church where an adult is
outside to greet them.
"There is also a one page information sheet that needs to be filled
out," said Forbes.
"We want everyone to know that there is a faith-based component of the
program, but that ASK is not specific to one denomination. We have
children from all different denominations attending. The activities are
not a "Sunday school," but we do use faith values to teach how we should
be living our lives. We welcome children who may not be churched as
well," she said.
"Safety is very important to us and we take our role as after school
caretakers very seriously. If there is a court order that restricts who
may pick up a child, we honor that order as long as the parents let us
"Also, if a student will not be riding the bus some day to the ministry,
we ask parents to notify us," Forbes said.
"If there is a child with disabilities, we will work with the parents to
the degree that we can," she added.
"ASK has a variety of activities for the children. For the first 10 to
20 minutes, we let them play, so they can blow off steam after being in
school all day. Then we have a snack. After that we have several
volunteers who have expertise in a certain area. Ellen Yedniak teaches
music, Kelly Villier teaches PE and Jana Russow teaches science. We are
looking for people who would like to teach art to the children. Toward
the end of the day, we have quiet time in the lounge where kids can do
homework, do puzzles, play with games, read or color," Forbes said.
Volunteers are welcome! If you are looking for something to do - contact
the church. A background check is necessary to work with the children.
"We need people who love kids, are committed to the ministry, always
have safety in mind, have a skill or a talent they would like to share,
or who just want to offer an extra pair of hands. Hours for volunteers
are 2:15 to 5 p.m., but if people would like to work just part of the
time, that is fine, too," Forbes said.
"One of the service projects that ASK is responsible for is filling 40
bags with food brought to the church by Don Schlosser from a Bloomington
Food Bank for children in need at the grade schools. The children make
an assembly line, pray over the food and place donated canned goods,
juice boxes and snacks in a bag. Bus drivers Karen and Dave Eggenberger
distribute the bags to school social workers who discreetly contact
students with the food bags on Friday," said Will Meachum, director of
Intentional Faith Development.
Meachum and Forbes welcome your children. "Right now, there are about 20
children on the roster, but we are hoping to expand the ministry", he
"I would be thrilled to meet your children and share our afternoons
together," Forbes added.
Record Number: e4ac2c2b64ffbf5a0f50216624c73eb9
Copyright 2012 The Daily Leader. All Rights Reserved.