Insights & Information

Teaching the Talents

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Ethan Thompson is a dog’s best friend these days.

With parents Chris and Melissa assisting, he’s baking and selling fresh dog treats like hotcakes — much to the delight of his own dog, Scout, and many others in the Kernersville area.

It’s all part of the Talent Project of Kids Street Children’s Ministry at Triad Baptist Church.

Tim Gerber, executive pastor for children and ministries, launched the project in 2003 to bring to life for the children he leads Jesus Christ’s Parable of the Talents, and to underscore their accountability for using what God has given them (“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12).

Since then, several generations of children have done just that — taking up to $5 in seed money and multiplying it many times over with returns ranging from double to 480 times the initial investment.

This year’s project began Jan. 7 and ends Aug. 25, the reckoning day.

From the $673.30 raised in 2003 to the record $1,828.10 in 2017, the Talent Project has raised $14,274.84 to date — money used to pay for a sound system, computer, and other unbudgeted Kids Street Children’s Ministry needs.

“What I have enjoyed the most about the Kids Street Talent Project is seeing them succeed, show creativity and productivity, and be a part of something bigger than themselves,” Gerber said.

Many years, many projects

Over the years, he’s seen a wide variety of projects. Kids have sold everything from lemonade to crafts, cookies and candy bars and even chicken eggs. They’ve mowed lawns, and sat with pets. One recorded and sold his own CD of piano performances. Another learned how to operate a carpet cleaner so he could clean home and auto carpets.

Still another took donations and then walked Salem Lake with his dad regularly, praying for the people who supported him.

This year, 18 children are participating, including Ethan. His big brother, Hunter, gave him the idea to make and sell dog treats. But he’s made one important change.

“My brother, Hunter, did frozen dog treats for his 5th grade project and was a huge success,” said Ethan, 11, and a student at Whitaker Elementary School. “But it was hard for him because he had to keep his treats frozen and delivery was harder. So I thought I could do the same but make them fresh.”

Using a recipe he found through Google, Ethan makes his dog treats in batches of 50 to 60 treats at a time. He puts 10 in a bag and sells each bag for $3.

“I have five ingredients I use,” Ethan said. “The treats have whole wheat flour, baking powder, peanut butter, milk, and molasses. We mix all that together and roll it out about one-half inch think and then use our dog bone cutter to cut them out. Then we place them on the baking pan and bake them in the oven.

‘All the dogs have loved the treats’

“All the dogs have loved the treats — especially my dog, Scout — and I’ve had many re-orders from neighbors, family, and friends.”

Ethan said his parents’ help is invaluable since the mix can get too thick and gooey if you’re not careful.

While his favorite part about Kids Street is the songs and motions, Ethan said he’s enjoyed the Talent Project and what it has taught him too.

“God has showed me how I can use my talent or skill to serve God outside of the church in my day-to-day life,” he said.

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