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Base chapel hosts program for children

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- If parents are looking for a healthy after-school activity for their children or just a chance to do some volunteer work, the base chapel might have just what they're looking for. 

The AWANAs program, or Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed, is a weekly event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. on Wednesdays and features a variety of activities to occupy a child's time. 

The international Christian-based program runs from September to May to coincide with the school year, said Alisa Thompson, 27th Fighter Wing chapel religious activities coordinator, after which they have a graduation. 

Children from pre-school age all the way up to high school are invited to attend the weekly program, said Penny Whaley, a volunteer from the 27th Mission Support Squadron's military personnel flight. 

Each week the program is divided into two separate halves. The first half of every week a meal is provided by the End Zone, said Airman 1st Class Alisha Jones, from the 27th MSS's MPF. 

"We take up donations to help go towards the food," said Airman Jones. "Last year the food was provided by the End Zone and the Landing, but this year it's the End Zone." 

Following dinner at 6:15 p.m., the children split into age groups and play a variety of games. 

The groups are split up into pre-schoolers, first and second-graders, third through fifth-graders, and junior high students, said Ms. Whaley. 

"They do different types of activities and they earn badges," said Ms. Whaley. "They do songs, give out awards." 

They also give out AWANA bucks, which allows the children to save up their "money." At the end of each month they can buy things from the AWANA store, said Ms. Whaley. 

"As long as I'm here, I'm going to help with AWANA," said Airman Jones. "It's something different for the children from what they get at home." 

For more information on the AWANAs program, call the chapel at 784-2507.