Bokenkamp Children’s Shelter in Corpus Christi is a place full of surprises and discovery. One of the great pleasures for everyone who works there is when the hidden talents of one of the residents – all unaccompanied refugee minors from Central America – burst onto the scene. It may emerge as a beautiful singing voice, the ability to dance up a storm, or a flair for playing a musical instrument.
Joanna Rocha, director of Volunteer Services at Bokenkamp, recently discovered an artist in residence. Although art is not a class offered to the residents, occasionally an artistic opportunity arises. One such opportunity occurred when Joanna asked the school teachers to select someone to draw a picture as a gift for retiring Pastor Jeff Thompson, a volunteer and Advisory Board member from St John Lutheran Church. They recommended Julio* who produced the artwork of the Bokenkamp Chapel pictured here. His own worst critic, Julio said “I don’t think it looks that nice and I wish I could make it look better.” Joanna disagrees. “For me personally, looking at this image of the chapel elicits chills, because it reminds me of the unconditional love that God has for all his children, including the ones residing at Bokenkamp,” she said.
Spiritual care is an experience available to the children of Bokenkamp on an optional basis, and spiritual care volunteers and many other active volunteers are a blessing to the shelter and residents. Joanna wants to be sure a special “thank you” goes out to Pastor Thompson, who has dedicated many years of volunteer service to Lutheran Social Services, through his involvement in the Board, fundraising, and monthly church services at Bokenkamp. “It has been a pleasure working alongside him! May God bless him; he will be missed,” she said. Now Pastor Jeff has an original “Julio” commemorating his time and service at Bokenkamp.
* note: Julio is not his real name.