RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Thanks to a Midlands nonprofit, 60 students in the Eau Claire neighborhood are in the middle of attending a 7-week summer camp.
The nonprofit is called Koinonia, which is Greek for Christian fellowship and is partnering with Eau Claire Baptist Church to provide the camp to students from around Eau Claire at very little cost. The camp's director Dr. Richard Moore is leading the way without getting paid a thing.
"He's working every day at no charge because we can't afford to pay the camp director," said Sheila Washington, a board member with Koinonia. "So he has volunteered to be the camp director this summer."
But Moore, the former Logan Elementary School principal, a 38-year educator and now Koinonia board member wouldn't have it any other way.
"I think that interaction with the kids on a daily basis, it keeps you young and it keeps you alive and moving and that's important," said Dr. Moore.
The lessons the students are learning this summer are important, as well. From reading, writing, and math to Bible study, music and art, students are also diving into character development and into even deeper topics like racial reconciliation.
"One of the things we talk about is being able to get along with people and all people," said Dr. Moore "We all love all people, and we're all God's children regardless of what color we are or where we come."
Ultimately, the heart of Koinonia is to see the community united as one.
"It's a dream really, God's dream come true to see people do this," said Kelly Strum, co-founder of Koinonia.
That's also the heart of Dr. Moore and his wife of 41 years Carolyn who volunteers at the camp, as well.
"We love working with children and the kitchen is kind of my thing, so it was just a great opportunity," Carolyn said.
The pastor of Eau Claire Baptist has known the Moore's for more than 15 years and says their heart to serve is what the church is all about.
"Dr. Moore exemplifies that church is really who we are, it's not where we meet necessarily, it's who we are and what we do," said Rev. Steven Bouknight, pastor of Eau Claire Baptist Church.
And for that reason and so many more - Matt Mungo showed up to camp.
"Dr. Moore I'm going to interrupt real quick, I'm Matt Mungo with Mungo Homes, and I am here because Sheila (Washington) nominated you, and you have been chosen as our WIS and Mungo Homes Community Builder," said Mungo. "You'll get a $1,000 check to the charity of your choice. Keep up the good work!"
Met by cheers from campers, Dr. Moore was taken by surprise. "Ms. Washington and I will have to talk later," he joked.
But true to his nature, Dr. Moore used the opportunity to highlight his heart—the students and the community.
"We want to tell them what we're all about," said Dr. Moore. The campers then recited the Koinonia motto, "Anchored deep like the tree at the riverside, flying in formation together… so that all may know the community - Koinonia!"