Our Lakeshore Children’s Center – A Children’s Peace Academy is one of the most visible, enduring and impactful ministries of our church. Each year almost one hundred families benefit from the “spiritual atmosphere of loving concern” that the center provides. For forty-two years John Dixon has been part of the LCC staff as a teacher and as the Director of the Kleines (two and three year olds) House program. Before “Johnny Bear” retired at the end of August, I sat down with him and asked him a few questions.
When you started work at LCC could you have imagined being here forty-two years later?
No way. I wasn’t looking for a job. I came here with a friend who was inter-viewing with the director, Duane Sisson. I started playing with the kids and end-ed up getting hired myself. Almost immediately it felt like home and has felt like home ever since. The kids, the staff, the families, the church – it had everything I could ever want.
When you remember your years here, what makes you the happiest?
The smiles of the children and the comradery of the staff will always make me happy.
What makes you the proudest?
When I think of all the children that came here crying, upset at being separated from their parents, afraid of the other kids and convinced that they didn’t want to be here and then starting to feel welcomed, safe and loved, starting to make friends, starting to trust the teachers, starting to smile much more than they cried and eventually leaving here ready for school, often having made lifelong friends, I feel proud. I believe in what we are doing.
Do you have any regrets?
That’s a tough question. No, I really don’t. I didn’t get rich, but I made friends and I made a difference and that is really something to say.
Do you have any counsel for us?
I would like to see the center and the church do more playing together, I remember that we used to go bowling, and more working for justice together. I think we can build on the Peace Academy identity.
We will be holding a celebration for John during our worship service on September 29. I hope you will join us and say thanks and well done to this hero in the lives of children.