Brook Hills Trunk or Treat

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MORE THAN 50 CARS with trunks open, creatively decorated, and filled with loads of great candy–that’s Trunk or Treat! You and your family are invited to be a part of it! Come in costume and prepare for a great time! Don’t forget your bags or buckets!



Want to learn more about what Heritage Christian Academy has to offer and see the campus? Register today for our special “Come & See” even on Tuesday October 19, 2021! Space is limited so be sure to early to secure your spot!

evening of Dreams

Sozo Children International, a Birmingham, Alabama based nonprofit ministry dedicated to serving at-risk children in Uganda, will host its annual fundraising Gala at The Club on September 9, 2021. The “Evening of Dreams” will feature a silent auction from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. with a dinner and live auction from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Youth News Flag Ceremony at Vulcan Girl Scouts Group Shot

Youth News

Youth News U.S Flags Retire at OLS Boys Burning flagsFifty frayed and faded U.S. flags were recently properly retired thanks to the patriotism and partnership of two groups at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church (OLS) in Homewood. Boy Scouts of America Troop 237 with the help of  Knights of Columbus conducted a retirement ceremony for the worn flags. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the recounting of the symbolism of the stars and stripes and the dedication of past patriots, the scouts placed pieces of the flags into the fire. The preferred way to retire U.S. flags is cutting them, separating the stripes but keeping the blue field of stars intact and burning them. Flags cannot be buried or discarded.

Youth News Flag Ceremony at Vulcan girl burning flag with adultIn conjunction with the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, Vulcan Park & Museum recently held a Flag Ceremony and Retirement. Girl Scouts from various troops in the Birmingham area participated in the program. Scouts recited facts about our nation’s flag and began a formal process to dispose of tattered flags. †

Boy reading in Library

Education Extra

Reading is fundamental. It affects all areas of a child’s success. And summertime is a great time to make reading a priority.

Boy reading in LibraryDr. Amy McCollum is a pediatrician at Midtown Pediatrics in Birmingham. She says it is important for parents to encourage strong reading habits in their child, and she says that begins at birth. “I would really encourage parents from birth to start reading to their baby,” she says. “Holding your child and reading a book together is going to have these great associations of attachment and connection. Your voice, which is the most comforting voice, is going to be what they hear.”

As the child gets older, Dr. McCollum says parents should encourage their child to choose what books they want to read. And she adds, don’t worry if they stick with the same theme, or want to read the same book over and over; they’re still reading. Make library visits a regular part of your summer. Dr. McCollum says if you are able, choose one day a week that is a library day. “Talk to the librarian, let them suggest books the child might like,” she says. “Check out books on a regular basis and sign up for summer reading programs at the library.” Again, Dr. McCollum says as the child gets older, continue to let them choose the books they are interested in. “I think sticking with the topic of letting them choose what they’re interested in is important,” she says. “For instance, if your son only wants to read graphic novels instead of chapter books, that’s fine if that’s what he enjoys.”

As kids get older, encouraging good reading habits can be challenging, as video games and devices serve as constant distractions. Dr. McCollum knows this firsthand. “We just have to fight to fight. In my family 30 minutes of reading gets you 30 minutes of video game time,” she says. And parents should ask themselves, am I modeling good reading habits to my child, or am I spending my free time on a device? By putting forth a little bit of effort and intentionality, any child can become a reader.

-Children’s of Alabama, 

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Join us this summer for a week of Basketball Camp, directed by the HCA Athletic Department, Coach Chris Stoutermire and the State Champion Varsity Boys Basketball Team. We have two sets of dates to choose from. Choose one or come to both. Our four day camps will focus on the development of shooting, dribbling, passing and overall knowledge of the game. In addition to teaching the fundamentals of the game, our goal is to help campers realize the importance of academics, character, teamwork, sportsmanship, and the love of Jesus. 

Time and Dates:

  • July 6-9 and July 12-15
  • 9:00am – 4:00pm daily
  • Lunch provided

Daily Itinerary includes: Focus on fundamentals and skill development, Daily devotional and Character development, team and individual competitions, HCA Varsity Player demonstrations, daily awards and recognition.

Who Can Attend: Rising 1st graders through Rising 8th graders

Camp Cost: $175 per camper  (includes camp t-shirt and daily lunch)

Camp Location: HCA Athletic Complex, 1630 Powder Plant Road, Bessemer, AL 35022 Facilities are air conditioned. 

Concession stand will open during break times for the purchase of drinks and snacks.

Contact Dave Scherbarth 205.427-8805 [email protected]


Proceeds raised will be used to support Sozo’s mission of empowering vulnerable children to become thriving leaders for Jesus Christ. The virtual 5K will be held the week of May 9-15–celebrating Sozo’s 11th anniversary on May 13, 2010.

Whether you plan on running the entire 5K (3.1miles), jogging, walking, skipping, or maybe even practicing your dance walk–we hope you will join in and get moving for Sozo Children! Create your own route in your neighborhood, at a nearby trail, or knock it out on your treadmill. Use your favorite fitness tracker or app to track your distance. Help us share the word by nominating 5 of your friends on social media to join in on the fun! Make sure to tag @sozochildren.

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Indian Springs First Baptist Church(ISFBC) invites children ages K – 5th grade to our 2021 Sticky Camp. This year’s exciting VBS message is Anchored – Deepening Faith in God. The 3-day adventure will be held at ISFBC on July 23 and 24 from 10am – 3pm and on July 25 from 9:30am – 11am. Email Micah Cunningham at [email protected] for more information or contact the church office at [email protected] or (205) 988-3662.

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Do you know a boy who is interested in music and singing? The Birmingham Boys Choir is currently holding open auditions for its 2021-22 season. To schedule an audition, visit our website:

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Mission Makers

When a young person is mentored, the positive impact is substantial, and Vineyard Family Services(VFS) ministry is doing all it can to make sure our area youth have this life changing advantage. Thanks to a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice for Detention Prevention, VFS is implementing Wise Advisors, a mentor/mentee program. “The program is driven by one thing, to help and improve our at-risk youth in Shelby County and surrounding counties,” explains Derick Williams, Family Services Director at VFS. Designed for mentees 12- to 17-year-olds, VFS is searching for caring adults ages 21 and older to be mentors.

vineyards family services Mentoring Man with teen boy
Besides the mentoring program, Vineyard Family Services also offers other programs designed to help families build a greater future including F.I.T. DAD (promoting responsible fatherhood) and BackPack Buddies which serves more than 1000 children a week who are at risk for food insecurity.

Williams, who is overseeing Wise Advisors, has personally seen where the lack of a mentor can lead. “I worked for the Alabama Department of Corrections for many years. One thing I continually saw in the prison system were a lot of our inmates who were either from a home with no father or didn’t have a  mentor in general. You could clearly see how it affected them as a teen and followed them into adulthood.”

Williams also has the facts when it comes to the impact of mentors. For instance, 55 percent of mentored youth are less likely to skip school, 55 percent are more likely to be enrolled in college, 46 percent are less likely to start using drugs, and 81 percent are more likely to report participating regularly in extracurricular activities. Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes them feel like they matter. Mentoring also reduces “depression symptoms” and increases “social acceptance, academic attitudes and grades. (

vineyard family services woman with teen girl mentor
Vineyard Family Services is looking for mentors who lead by example as a Christian mentor. “How else will we be able to get a mentee to see a need to make changes?” Learn more at

June 5, 2021 VFS will host a one-day training for Wise Advisor mentors 9 a.m.– 4p.m. at their Pelham office. Training gives mentors the knowledge they need to engage with mentees. “In training we cover a plethora of situations that a mentor may be faced with,” says Williams adding that all mentors must be willing to have one home visit with VFS leader, mentee and parent and pass a background check. Mentors are also asked to commit to mentoring for at least nine months and invest at least four hours a month with mentees. “Through that time investment, they build a healthy relationship, help strengthen and guide the talents of these mentees, they encourage them to come up with their own coping strategies and empower them to work through their own issues. They lead by example,” says Williams.

Mentees also commit in writing to participate in the program and mentees and mentors are carefully matched. “We want to make sure we get a good fit,” says Williams. ”Race, religion do not play a role in it. Our motto is to match mentee with mentor with common interests. This allows for the opportunity to build a great relationship.” Williams emphasizes that mentors are not tasked with being a counselor to the mentee, however, VFS does offer this service free of charge to any teen in the mentor program.

At the end of nine months, VFS holds a mentee graduation celebration. Post-graduation mentor/mentee relationships may continue, but VFS believes it is critical to celebrate the nine month investment and accomplishment achieved by mentor and mentee . “Some of these kids have not received credit for anything. This is a milestone we don’t want them to ever forget.” To learn more about mentoring visit To sign up for the June 5 training contact Derick Williams, [email protected] 205-704-0594.  If you know a child in that can benefit from this free mentoring program, contact Charity Havercroft at VFS, [email protected], 205-837-0265. †


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