DALLAS - Inside pastor Annelda Crawford's church hall, children are always welcome at "Project Transformation."
The after-school program has brought a renewed energy to Pleasant Mound United Methodist Church. The congregation, which has been around since the late 1800s, has members with an average age of 79 to 85.
"With the children here, it just brings a new vitality," Crawford said. "We hear their voices in the halls and the running in the yard and it just gives us a renewed vision of our future."
Alberto Lerma, 9, is part of that future. He and his brother have been attending the after-school program for years. All the children receive hot meals, tutoring and bible study. While they receiver plenty of help, the children are also helping others.
"Every 30 seconds in Africa a child dies from malaria," said Lerma, who is the fourth-grade. "So, we're trying to raise money for malaria."
Alberto and his friends are collecting pennies to buy mosquito nets for children half a world away. The program is run by college-age interns and is making a world of difference for many of these children.
"I did have a parent that came to me not long ago and said my children are different for coming to the after-school program," Crawford said. "She said, 'I can't put my finger on it, but they are different.'" said Pastor Crawford.