Friendship House celebrates 20 years

Published 6:34 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

RUNNING THE SOUND BOOTH at Friendship House is an activity Darius Peterson enjoys.

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The Friendship House of Jesus has been about the business of changing lives—one at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time—for 20 years.

As they prepare for an open house anniversary celebration to be held Thursday, May 5, Friendship House wants to share some of the life stories and testimonies of faith professed by those whose lives have been impacted by their association with the Friendship House.

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Darius Peterson, 15, is a freshman at Bainbridge High School. He first began attending the Friendship House at age 6 when he accompanied a friend one day after school.

“Miss Jane met me at the door and introduced herself,” he said. “I liked it right away. It is such a positive atmosphere, where you are greeted with love.”

His regular attendance was interrupted for a couple of years, but he returned at age 12 to help as a volunteer.

“I needed the service hours for a club I was in,” he explains, then adds, “I just keep on coming back because I just enjoy being here.”

Now Darius is there every day, assisting the teachers and office staff and running the sound booth system. He also sings with the group. Although he is a regular high school student, Darius said the children all expect him to be there every day.

“If I’m not here, the children wonder where I am.” He considers it a vow he has with the children to be there for them.

At BHS Darius has served on the student council, just finished a term as vice-president for his class and is in the BHS chorus. His favorite subjects in school are reading, English and social studies. His goal is to become a language arts or social studies teacher.

Darius is the son of Tawanda Peterson of Bainbridge and he attends Christ Tabernacle of the Living Word Church, where Bishop Kelvin D. Wells is his pastor, as well as his mentor.

Darius said his church involvement over the years has kept him in a stable situation, but his involvement at Friendship House has helped him discover values he has that others do not.

“Without the Friendship House I’d be a totally different person today, unable to see the needs that others have. It has made me more aware, and because of Friendship House, I can now learn to teach others how to use those values to their advantage.”

Darius calls the growth of Friendship House over the years a blessing.

“God has allowed the vision of Miss Jane and the others to come to pass.”

He defines Friendship House as a “Lighthouse of Hope”—a place where children can come and be safe, learn about Jesus and have hope for their lives.