Written by Jamie Harling. Media by Noah Henry.
The Simple Room, a local youth center, is well into the new school year with a brand new executive staff at the helm. Jamie Harling, a recent GC graduate in Elementary Education, TESL, and Spanish stepped into the position of Executive Director in August. Josh Dees, a current GC student, cross country runner/coach, and Biology instructor, took the Director of Family Relations position in September, while Chad Warner, former Young Adult minister at Greenville First Christian Church, came on as the Community Outreach Director.
The three are excited to guide The Simple Room as it seeks to expand and pursue the vision to free “at-risk” youth and their communities from generational cycles of bondage, and empower them to contribute to this world in a meaningful, Christ-filled manner. The Simple Room exists to be a vessel of Christ’s transformative love and power in this town so that people might find the freedom to be the people God designed them to be. For “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17).
The executive leadership is also very excited to work along side a great staff of Greenville College students. Their hearts for the Lord, for His Kingdom, and for the children who come to The Simple Room is truly a blessing to behold. Without their efforts and creativity, The Simple Room could not do what it does. The same goes for the board of directors, the volunteers, the donor base, and the prayer warriors, many of which are comprised of Greenville community members. Their loving support and care for the often marginalized and forgotten children of this town makes the call of Scripture to “care for the widows and orphans” (James 1:27) a reality. This reality and responsibility, however, has much room to grow. The Simple Room is extremely grateful for the financial support and volunteered time given, but more people are always needed to engage the children one-on-one and in group settings with the love of Christ.
To facilitate the transformative potential of a life touching another life, The Simple Room offers a variety of programs, including tutoring, gender specific Bible studies and life groups, dance, art, big brother & big sister mentoring, open houses, and special events and trips.
The following is a brief break-down of each program:
Led by GC students Samantha Paulin and Trent Johnson, tutoring is offered Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. as a time for students of all ages to receive quality instruction and encouragement in all areas of study.
Bible Studies & Life Groups:
Monday night from 6 to 7:30 p.m., “Guys’ Group” happens. A group of men from the community and GC walk along side a group of male students as they seek to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a man of God?” Each week snacks are provided as someone shares their testimony based on a specific virtue (e.g., Vulnerability, Patience, Responsibility, etc.) and relevant Scripture passages. This is followed by a time of discussion, prayer, worship, and hanging out with the kids.
“Girls’ Group” takes place every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. This is a time for the girls of the Simple Room to be poured into by women from GC and the community. They hang out, enjoy tasty treats, discuss scripture and relevant topics, pray for one another, and generally have a wonderful time together. It’s a great opportunity for love and grace to be exemplified and spoken over the students.
So you think you can dance? Come share your talent! Every Monday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The Simple Room Dance team, led by our on-staff dance instructor Taylor Higgins, meets to hone their skills and put together routines that are displayed at various functions throughout the year.
The Simple Room kids love to draw, paint, and create…and they’re good at it! Our art program takes place Thursday nights from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the basement of St. Paul’s Church. GC art major Maggie Tarr instructs and encourages the students in a variety of art forms and their creations are displayed at The Simple Room, Adam Bros Coffee House (where you can purchase the art for a donation), and on refrigerators across Greenville. Come help out, impact a life, and maybe get some free art!
Big Brother/Big Sister Mentoring:
The Simple Room considers mentoring one of the greatest chances for positive life change in its students. Kids are matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister from Greenville College or other willing community members. The expectation is that the “Big” will spend time with their “Little” approximately two hours a week. This is most easily done at one of our Open Nights, but we love when “Bigs” come up with creative ways to spend time with their “Littles”. It could be something as simple as hanging out on campus, playing a game, taking a walk, getting ice cream at DQ, or going to the grocery store. We want people to walk with the students in their every day lives. Let us know if you’re willing to pour into a student! We promise, you’ll be just as blessed as they are
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights The Simple Room is open from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Kids can come hang out with each other, mentors, volunteers, and staff, as well as play board games, card games, carpet ball, and anything else their beautiful minds can dream up. Come check it out!
Even though these are the programs currently offered, The Simple Room is always looking to expand and enhance programming. They are in the process of forming a music lesson program and will be needing help with the garden club come spring. The Simple Room is also open to creative suggestions for programming and ministry that reflect and encourage the talents God has given you to share. Talk to one of the directors. They can find or create a place for you!
At the end of the day, if a child has the chance to meet Jesus Christ, it is counted as success. Will you join The Simple Room as they seek to proclaim God’s glory and communicate His grace and live His love?