Two Austin-area church youth groups headed south to Corpus Christi to spend a day with the residents of Bokenkamp Children’s Shelter last week. The trip had a profound effect on the 50 youth and adults from Redeemer Lutheran Church and Northwest Fellowship Church, and undoubtedly created special memories for the kids at Bokenkamp who are experiencing life changes and new discoveries every day.
Visitors and residents played games together (including “Xtreme” soccer and egg toss), sang together in English and Spanish, and generally had the kind of fun most kids in Texas take for granted. Bokenkamp’s residents are refugee minors, primarily from Central America, who are cared for at the shelter until a permanent home can be arranged for them.
The children and teens at Bokenkamp thrive on activities like the ones the visitors organized, since they have been robbed of these day-to-day experiences of childhood. Gifts of stuffed animals are precious to even the teenagers, as they’ve never had their own stuffed toys to cuddle with. Almost all of the kids over age 12 are forced to go to work or “sent” across the border where many become the victims of the sex trafficking trade. The visiting youth learned about this dark side of life from Joanna Rocha, Director of Volunteer Services, during their visit.
A big Bokenkamp thank you goes out to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Corpus, for housing the visiting youth groups overnight.
The programs and special activities at Bokenkamp depend on community fundraising to improve the day-to-day lives of the residents. The Change-A-Life Benefit OktoberFiesta on September 29th is a party and a cultural adventure rolled into one that will benefit the kids at Bokenkamp. If you’re in the Corpus area, plan to attend and come out to support this vital program and the young residents of Bokenkamp! Click here to make your reservations.