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Picture:  Salisa Teat
Salisa Teat
Picture:  Dionna Garner
Dionna Garner
Picture:  Kiarah Ujamaa
Kiarah Ujamaa

My name is Salisa Teat. I am the first member of Caring Kids, which originated on October 15, 1983 under the supervision of Rolanda Watkins. At the age of eleven, I and some of my childhood friends, would entertain our elderly at numerous nursing, convalescent, and senior citizen homes and hospitals and hospices. Our main purpose was to shine our light of joy and happiness into the lives of others who were captive in their age, health, and lack of family. Caring Kids is similar to an outreach for children. However, it is an outreach to both the elderly and children. Caring Kids is an organization that proved that there are still many young people in the world who are caring, respectful, and concerned for the elderly. Every youth that has come to being a Caring Kids member has become the match in a dark room; they always shined bright. Thank you Caring Kids for all the loving memories, friendship, and love that were given to me. God Bless you all!!

My name is Dionna Garner, a Caring Kids alumnus. I am 34 years old with a 13-year old son. I became a member of Caring Kids Youth Ministry at the age of 6 and remained active with the ministry until age 18. During that time, the ministry visited nursing and convalescent homes and hospitals and hospices in the Detroit and surrounding areas. Our purpose was to bring joy to the sick and shut-in. I remember in particular at New Light Nursing Home where I became attached to a small, frail woman residing in the home. She was kind and had beautiful long hair. I vividly remember how much I enjoyed combing her hair and how much she enjoyed having her hair combed. Other members of Caring Kids would polish fingernails, apply makeup, and adorn the female seniors with jewelry. The male seniors also received special gifts and treatment in addition to enjoying a full concert and other talents performed by Caring Kids members. Another special memory for me was the annual overnight trips our Caring Kids family would take to Wheels Inn Resort in Chatham, Canada. There, Caring Kids would enjoy "RRF", rest, relaxation and fun! Thanks Caring Kids for all the wonderful memories.

I am Kiarah Ujamaa, a Caring Kids member. I enjoy visiting the sick and shut-in and senior citizen homes. Caring Kids performs concerts throughout the year and feeds many homeless people at Thanksgiving time each year. In addition, Caring Kids also adopts needy families with children during the Christmas season. I enjoy shopping for the children; picking out toys they will enjoy and items they need. I especially enjoyed shopping for the victims of the Katrina Hurricane and sending the items purchased to those who needed them most. I love the time I spend with my Caring Kids family. Members of Caring Kids are positive and love to share their talent with others. Long Live Caring Kids Youth Ministry!

Picture:  Tia Quick
Tia Quick
Picture:  Bella Crayton
Bella Crayton
Connie Jaracz (Not Pictured)

My name is Tia Quick. I have been a part of Caring Kids Youth Ministry since I was a little girl. My family and I enjoy working with Caring Kids and the Miss Charity Rose Beauty Pageant, of which I am the 2011 13 to 16 category titleholder. I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful people and helping those who are less fortunate. It's great to know that all members of Caring Kids organization have kept the faith and believe in what they do, which has kept them together for more than 28 years and counting. I've been a member of Caring Kids for 10 years and have worked with the Miss Charity Rose Beauty Pageant for nearly as long because I too believe in the cause of the ministry, which is helping our fellow man when needed.

The Miss Charity Rose Beauty Pageant is not about outer beauty, but rather how beautiful you are inside. It is not about a contestant's size, shape or even ethnicity, but it is about your heart and how you care for others. The purpose of the organization is not to help yourself, but rather lend a helping hand to those who are not able to help themselves.

My name is Bella Crayton. Being a part of Caring Kids and the Miss Charity Rose Pageant has been a phenomenal experience! You learn so many things like how to walk on the runway, talk into a mike on camera, and how to be self-confident in every situation. These things are important because when I become famous one day I will know what to do!

I am a girl scout and one of our laws says to be friendly and helpful. I got to practice that when we went to help feed the homeless at Thanksgiving, at the Adopt a Family at Christmas, and even at the Pizza Party. I hope that by my being friendly and helpful, and being able to share the light that glows inside of me, helps make somebody else's day a little bit better.

Winning trophies and wearing a crown is fun too! But the best part is knowing that in my own way I was able, with the help of God, my family, and my friends, to be able to help someone else. It is a great feeling knowing you helped somebody. Thank you Mrs. Watkins and Caring Kids for giving me a chance to be a part of something so awesome! God Bless You All!

Through an Internet search, I uncovered Caring Kids when they wanted my company to adopt a metro Detroit family during the holidays. Little did I know this would form a long-term relationship and commitment to making childrens' Christmases merry. Ms. Watkins and her staff of volunteers consistently uncover families in need, families worthy of our support. They are an organized group who reach out to me yearly - early in the holiday season - to secure my company's commitment for the year. I have loved working with Caring Kids.

One year, my schedule was a little too crazy to make time to meet Ms. Watkins for a present pick up in the years before the luncheon existed. Instead, I had the pleasure of driving the presents to a grandmother's home while her three grandchildren were at school. I still think of her. We had so much in common, a love for cooking and Southern Living magazines. I stayed longer than expected because of the wonderful conversation we had. The pictures of her family's Christmas celebration are still cemented in my mind.

I made a career transition to Bosco's Pizza Co., and I took Caring Kids with me. I worked with Caring Kids at my last employer for 8 years and Bosco's has been working with Caring Kids for three years. I now rely on my Bosco's colleagues for present drop off because they love doing it so much each year. I had such an enjoyable experience meeting the families; I have to share it.

Picture:  Rayven and Stephanie Lilly
Rayven and Stephanie Lilly
Picture:  Articia Clark
Articia Clark

My family was adopted Christmas 2010. Being an adoptee in Caring Kids Adopt-A-Family Christmas Program was a blessing. The gifts were great but we really enjoyed meeting and having lunch with our adopters, it made the experience more personal. I was very grateful for each gift because it was almost like they knew us and knew exactly what my daughter wanted and needed. I was so touched by this experience that it made me want to give back so I volunteered my time to help with the Christmas 2011 luncheon where I was also able to personally thank the adopters again for all the blessings we received.

In an effort to continue to give back and support Caring Kids Youth Ministry, family members, friends, and myself, I entered my daughter in the annual Miss Charity Rose Beauty Pageant, a benefit to raise funds to feed the homeless community and adopt families with children in need at Christmas. My daughter Rayven won runner-up in the 2 to 4 Miss Charity Rose pageant 2011 competition. This was a great experience for her; she loves performing, but was shy when it came to sharing her talents. However, with the experience she has gained from the Miss Charity Rose Beauty Pageant, she has overcome the fear of performing in front of an audience. Rayven stated that the pageant was fun and she wants to do it again every year. I just want to say thank you again to the directors of Caring Kids and to everyone that helps to keep these programs going. Keep up the good work!

As a youth ... I remember my parents put my little sister and I in a group called the ...
Caring Kids Youth Ministries.

As a Caring Kid member ... we met on Saturdays at our director's home by the name of
Rolonda Watkins.

Ms. Watkins was a woman full of energy who took on around 20-30 youths, both girls and boys. Our main venture was outreach programs for senior citizens. As a group, we would go to various nursing homes and sing to the seniors, give out gift bags, do their hair, and spend one-on-one time with a senior of our choice. In other words...we brought hope and love into the nursing homes. We were sometimes the only family these seniors had. We laughed with them and sometimes cried with them. The seniors became part of our young lives. I will never forget Ms. Rolonda Watkins' efforts to make a difference in the Detroit community for the youth. She instilled hope in the youth. That is why now ... under the Bomer administration ... we will provide "padded security for our seniors" !!!!

I would like to have more programs like this for our youth to meet the seniors of our city that made it this far in life, to have lived a long and prosperous life. Ms. Rolonda Watkins ... thank you ... thank you ... and thank you for your dedication and hard work. I love you dearly.


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