Two alumni from California Baptist University are teachers at Arlanza Elementary School in Riverside and volunteer their time for an organization and club that has a mission of spreading the Gospel to young boys and girls.
Child Evangelism Fellowship is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization that kickstarted the Good News Club, a ministry in which trained teachers meet with groups of children to teach them about Christ.
With permission from their parents, some students at the elementary school are a part of the club, where teachers and volunteers present a Bible lesson each week along with songs for the children to recite, Scripture verses to memorize and an opportunity to give their life to the Lord.
Daniel Zamora, fifth school grade teacher at Arlanza Elementary School, graduated from CBU in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, and David Collier, second school grade teacher, graduated with his master’s degree in administrative education and computer technology in 2007.
Collier said attending CBU helped his skills in teaching and strengthened his walk with God.
“I chose it because it was a Christian university,” Collier said. “When I was growing up, CBU was only 800 people.”
After going to California State University, at San Ber- nardino, to study accounting, Zamora said the Lord spun him around and told him he was going to teach instead.
“The best line I learned was, ‘Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,’ and I have always lived by that in my classroom,” Zamora said.
“Someone had told me students can’t be your friends, and to a certain point they can’t, but there’s a point in line where you have to show them that you care because if you do, they will listen, they will follow you and you’re able to teach them and you can connect with them,” he continued.
Since Collier received permission from the principal and the Riverside Unified School District, the Good News Club at the public school has been in service to students since 2013.
Zamora said at least 35 stu- dents who participate in the club are in fourth and fifth grade, while more than 70 stu- dents are between kindergar- ten and third grade.
“When we started, I don’t think we really sat down and thought about how the kids might show up,” Zamora said. “Then, when the numbers started growing we were like, ‘Wow, there are a lot of kids.’”
Child Evangelism Fellowship offers monthly meetings where they explain the curriculum to the teachers so they are prepared to teach it to children in school.
Zamora said they knew their club was growing based on going to the meetings with the people at CEF.
“When they were teaching us about our curriculum, we would share about our clubs and so the other clubs around Riverside would share their numbers and I think the biggest club was in the 20s, maybe 30s,” Zamora said. “As ours started to grow, we went from 40, 50, 70 and then 80.”
Zamora said students from churches around Riverside partcicpate in the club.
“It’s different than just teaching in the classroom, like a regular daily ceducation,” Zamora said. “We teach about the Bible, they get to ask questions and there is a lot of crossover of students.”