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At-Risk Youth Participate in ‘Gearing Up for STEM’ Workshop

Media contact: Dr. Mona Davies
Community Outreach Ministry
Photos: Courtesy of Community Outreach Ministry
April 15, 2021
At-Risk Youth Participate in ‘Gearing Up for STEM’ Workshop
    Dr. Mona Davies and her husband STEM Coach Bob sponsored another Gearing Up for STEM Workshop for at-risk youth in April. The Davies are the founders of Community Outreach Ministry (COM), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping at-risk youth to be empowered to graduate from high school and set their sights for college and beyond. To achieve that goal, the Davies sponsor STEM workshops to inspire youth to build STEM career skills. According to the Spotlight student newspaper of Southern Lehigh High School in Pennsylvania, high school dropouts are at a much higher risk of being incarcerated. Eighty percent of males in federal and state prisons do not have a high school diploma.                    
    The STEM workshop was held on April 3 thanks to Jennifer Hernandez of Wellness and More for hosting the event in Murrieta. The Angel Tree children – the term used to describe the girls and boys assisted by the ministry -- built robots with some mentors who have professional backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The Davies believe – based on their own written research -- that helping youth develop STEM skills is one approach to helping them combat drugs and resist street gang influences.                         

    The mentor-protégé workshops are designed for children between eight and 18 and serve to equip youth to develop reading, critical thinking and problem-solving skills while learning how to work together as a team. Intervention is key in preventing youth from future incarceration and to reduce recidivism rates. The ministry relies on volunteers for most of its programs. For the recent STEM workshop, volunteer Janice Hare of Mt. View Church in Wildomar assisted in bringing together family members to the workshop.                  
    “I really enjoyed my time mentoring the youth and watching them have fun learning about STEM by building robots,” said Noah Ekstrom, Chemical Processing Engineer at Henkel Electronics in Irvine. Noah’s parents Jenny and Chuck also served as mentors at the event. “I was so impressed by the focus the kids showed,” Ekstrom said. “I want the kids to know this is a great career option with endless possibilities for fun, challenging careers that can support them financially. I am grateful to have been a part of the day!”
    Karin Arango Prison Fellowship Angel Tree Regional Director of Church Mobilization also expressed her appreciation for how the robotics was presented and taught to kids of all ages referring to the event as “fantastic.” She complimented COM for their years of working with Angel Tree and at-risk children in the community, their depth of understanding of the needs and hopes of the children and for their dedication commenting on how the Davies have become an inspiration to others. On behalf of the 11 families and 24 children from Riverside County, a donation of $222.00 was made to Prison Fellowship in celebration of April being Second Chance Month for returning citizens to become productive members of society.
    Yolande Hill of Yolande’s Art of Photography in Lake Elsinore partnered with Community Outreach Ministry to capture photos of the children in action. She came up with a twist on STEM: Start Today Educating Me!
    The Davies expressed their gratitude to Jon and Liz Vallejo Camp Agape directors along with Peggy Nunes and Thomas Chitwood for hosting a booth and inviting caregivers to register their children ages 7-17 for camp. Jon said, “there is nothing in this world like changing the life of a child.” Save the dates, September 3-6, 2021! To register go to or call 951-741-6288.                   
    Cynthia Duran of Sewing Stories Arts and Crafts hosted a booth at the workshop. She said, “I always learn so much from the children when they are creating their artwork.” “Some children come up with innovative ways to accomplish the exact look they want and allowing them full creative freedom to make their choice of color and placement is the best part of the process.”
    Jacori and Jaelin Neal known as the Neal Brothers from Lake Elsinore are a singing duo who benefited from the services of Community Outreach Ministry over the years. The Neal Brothers sang Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow and His Eye Is on the Sparrow. Other volunteers at the event included Marcelo Ramirez and his daughters Briana and Sasha who helped with the set up and tear down for the event. The Ramirez family are members of the Gateway Spanish Church of the Nazarene in Murrieta.
    For more information or to donate to COM send this text message DONATE CHAMPIONS to this number 609-212-0637. To become a partner, or sponsor or to donate visit the organization’s website at or call 951-698-7650.

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