In his ministry, Jesus instructed his disciples not to impede children’s access to him — suggesting that they “let the little children come to me.” By providing primary health care, nourishment and clean water, Episcopal Relief & Development enables children living in poverty to taste the life abundant that Jesus came to offer us. In developing formational programs for children in the Episcopal Church, Episcopal Relief & Development is providing another means through which “little ones” may find this abundant life — through service and learning to be “mindful of the needs of others” (Book of Common Prayer, 835).
We currently offer two main programs for children, Abundant Life Garden Project and Rita Mosquito, which focuses on malaria prevention and empowering learners to address it.
US Disaster Program Resources for Children and Youth
Abundant Life Garden Project
Abundant Life Garden Project is an interactive, Scripture-based children’s program offered to parishes, teachers, families and others who seek to share the ministry and work of Episcopal Relief & Development with elementary school-aged students.
This flexible, low-cost program invites children to participate in our mission by exploring five thematic lessons on Water, Seeds, Soil, Animals and Harvest. Appendices to the lessons offer additional options and tips to assist you in creating a program that best fits your needs.
In learning to be thankful for the bounty that God has provided in Creation, children and their families are encouraged to share with one another. By raising funds to purchase gifts included in the Gifts for Life catalog, parishes, teachers, groups and families can take action and share our abundance with those in need around the world.
Please share your experience with the program! In order that we might better serve you, we would like for you to complete and return the brief survey included at the end of each module. Thank you!
Rita Mosquito: A Children's Program on Malaria
This teaching tool will help children learn about malaria, a deadly but preventable disease that affects many people worldwide. Originally developed for the NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund, the curriculum explains how the NetsforLife® program partners with communities in sub-Saharan Africa to save lives, and empowers children to join the fight against malaria.
Rita Mosquito can be used for:
- Vacation Bible School
- Sunday School
- Children’s Chapel
- Weekday or weeknight programs
- Rotation Sunday School programs
These materials are flexible, and you are encouraged to use all or part of them as best suits your parish, school or group. The program may be used for children ages four and up or for intergenerational groups. Lesson 1 is geared more toward young children, but Lesson 2 and Lesson 3 have been adapted for older youth.
Lesson 1: Real Heroes versus Rita Mosquito
In this program, our goal is to invite children to share in the ministry of building a community of malaria prevention. Partnering with churches and faith-based groups in rural communities, NetsforLife® fights malaria by training local community members to deliver and hang life-saving nets, educating community members about how to use and care for nets, and providing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of net use. This ministry truly is one of shared participation by people all over the world, and we seek your involvement and that of your children as partners in this ministry.
Lesson 2: Rita Mosquito Zeroes In on Africa
“Rita Mosquito Zeroes In on Africa” focuses on countries in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria is most endemic. As part of our Baptismal Covenant to seek and serve others in Christ, loving our neighbors as ourselves, we literally “seek out” our neighbors by learning where and how they live, who they are, and what challenges they face. Then, we can better know how they might be best served and loved.
This lesson also seeks to help children place themselves in the context of the worldwide Body of Christ, the Church, and within the worldwide faith community. We encourage you and your participants to sample these brief but very worthwhile resources as a means of introducing our faith partners around the world.
NOTE: Lesson 2 is a follow-up to the introductory module of this program, “Real Heroes versus Rita Mosquito.” It is assumed that children have been introduced to the challenge of malaria prevention and the use of bed nets before beginning this lesson. However, if you have not done so, we invite you to explore the first lesson of this program and to use the resources provided with that lesson.
Lesson 3: The Truth About Rita Mosquito
This lesson, "The Truth About Rita Mosquito," focuses on the science behind malaria, the approach to malaria prevention, and the power of truth in fighting and eliminating disease. Before we can effectively fight disease — or any other challenge in our lives — we need to understand the facts about what causes the problem and how it might be solved.
Knowledge is power. A primary objective of this lesson is to give you the facts about malaria, so that you will be able to think about how you might be called to help with the issue of malaria prevention. Once we are aware of the needs of others, we may find ourselves called to assist in those very needs. This assistance can take the form of making a donation to NetsforLife®, consciousness-raising in our communities, praying for the needs of others, or simply making ourselves aware of serious the issues and challenges facing those in other parts of the world.
NOTE: Lesson 3 is a follow-up to the introductory lesson of this program, “Real Heroes versus Rita Mosquito.” It is assumed that children and youth have been introduced to the challenge of malaria prevention and the use of bed nets before beginning this lesson. If you have not already done so, we invite you to first explore Lesson 1 of this program and use the resources provided with it.
Top: Courtesy of Kelly Norell, Episcopal School of Knoxville
St. Francis Day: Courtesy of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Chattanooga, TN
Abundant Life Garden Project: Courtesy of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Medina, WA