News & Notes: March 2018
March was a full month at CAC! We celebrated the Easter story, practiced emergency preparedness, learned about building community relations, participated in MMA tournaments, and started planting our garden. Keep reading to learn more!
March is National Child Safety Month!


March is National Child Safety Month, however every month is about child safety at CAC! This week we performed a center-wide fire drill so that everyone knew exactly what to do and where to go in the case of a fire. We also held several sessions on evacuation procedures in a variety of scenarios with our staff. We are consistently evaluating our emergency preparedness policies and procedures to ensure that we are ready for whatever may happen. The children in our care our the #1 priority!
Let's talk about our community...
We were blessed this month to have Jason Davis speak with our youth and families about community violence and how we can work together to foster a healthier community. A special thanks to Jason and Dr. Dawn Porter from the Karla Smith Foundation for coordinating this event!
Mixed Martial Arts at CAC
Mixed martial arts is a long standing program at CAC that has garnered a great deal of success in recent years. Seth, our Foreign Language & MMA instructor, writes to tell us more about the program and some of the competitions that CAC children have competed in recently across the country:
 
“Generally for martial arts and language classes we focus on middle schoolers and high schoolers for any travels as we take them out of the country to train and organize events while sharing the Gospel. Last summer, I had received enough questions and complaints from the 2nd-5th grade martial arts classes that I decided to do something for them. We formed a competition class with our sites set on a big tournament in Atlanta, Georgia last December. We trained hard and prepared with in-house tournaments. We then went and stayed with the the youth pastor from Rennovation Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
We also met with a fighter friend from our network of Christian fighters who is now working to organize a fundraiser tournament for us in Louisville, Kentucky on our journey south. While in South Carolina we also met up with Katie and Yeril Lozano who run the church and martial arts school our middle schoolers work with in Nicaragua. They accompanied us to Atlanta on competition day, where Kendrick Hicks, My'Chelle Dotts, and Mykia Dotts cleaned up the competition winning 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal, and 2 bronze against competition from 5 states under the team banner of East Side Jiu Jitsu. We then had a chance to go to Rennovation Church and have dinner with the pastor's family before coming back home!".....

To read more about recent competitions and accomplishments with our mixed martial arts program, visit our "News & Notes" blog!
Speaking of competitions, CAC takes a hand at chess!
This past Saturday, March 24th, the CAC took 5 young urban chess professionals to compete at a Scholastic Tournament for elementary through high school children which was hosted by the St Louis Chess Club on Saint Louis Universities campus. There was over 150 students and the matches were played in a beautiful sanctuary. Every student plays 4 matches with opponents at comparable rankings. The CAC's overall record was 10 wins, 7 losses, and 3 draws. We are extremely proud of our chess team and really look forward to becoming one of the top chess teams in the region!
Put your running shoes on
and help us build a park!
The Olivette Park Ultra is less than one month away! Join us on Saturday, April 28th for a multi-length run as we raise funds for and awareness of our new park area! We are preparing to break ground and we need your support.

Each of the race lengths kick off at different times throughout the day, followed by dinner and an awards ceremony in the evening. If you have any questions, please contact Matt Cowman at matt.cowman@cacesl.org or 618-874-5615.
"What is God's most amazing creation?"
We consider ourselves ~lucky~ to be able to serve some of the world's best kids! This month we asked them to share some of their favorite creations that God has given us, among many other things.

See what they said in the March edition of "And now a word from us kids!"
Just as Jesus did...
Last week Matt, CAC's Chaplain, shared the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet. We talked about the love and care that Jesus showed people and how beautiful it would be for us to do the same. So all around the center, we had children from different age groups wash each other's feet. We were able to witness some of our older students washing our youngest students feet.

It was amazing to see them so humble as to serve our 5-7 year old children in this way. It seemed the young ones really felt the love from them as well. Afterwards, we asked some of them how they felt about having their feet washed. They shared that it was an amazing experience that that they wanted to return the favor. It was a heart warming experience for all!
Spring has sprung in our garden!
Each year our CAC kids plant, maintain, and harvest their own garden under the guidance of our Master Gardener and Health Educator Ms. Margie. She uses the garden as part of CAC's health curriculum. Additionally, our community reaps the benefits of every harvest!

Our children learned how to gently wash soil off the roots in preparation for planting in CAC’s hydroponic system. This allows us to grow plants indoors as well! The greens (mustard, kale and collard) are loving it, as Jarod proudly shows us. The cold frame that is installed in our playground area is protecting our early greens planted outside.
Christian Activity Center
Caring for kids in East St. Louis
540 N. 6th Street | P.O. Box 2525 | East St. Louis, IL 62201
618-874-5615 | www.cacesl.org