BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Cameron Levis started up a program called Inclusive Ministries during his time as a student at Western Kentucky University. Inclusive Ministries is a place for teens and adults with disabilities to participate in a local bible study, filled with fellowship and friendship.
Now that he's graduated, Cameron has decided to take the program with him into the Bowling Green community, extending outreach in the area and hoping to one day make a nation-wide impact.
Inclusive Ministries holds bible studies inside the Cafe of Living Hope Baptist Church every other Monday from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. According to everyone involved, the impact of Inclusive Ministries goes far beyond the walls of the church.
"Basically the mission is to share the love of Christ with individuals that have intellectual or physical disabilities through programming, volunteerism, and service. Then really just to spread the message of inclusion for the population," says Cameron.
He's been able to use his job as Bowling Green Parks and Recreation's Special Populations Instructor to plan events and programs like Valentine's Socials and Special Olympics Tournaments, and spends his free time with many of the same friends, leading bible study for Inclusive Ministries.
"We range anywhere from 10-15 participants at bible study that come. We're still growing but we've seen steady growth and God's been really faithful," he says.
Cameron says he grew up with a passion for helping people with disabilities. His mom works with the special needs population in Louisville, and Cameron says from a young age he would go to work with her. It wasn't uncommon for him to be rocked to sleep by someone in a wheel-chair, he says.
Parents of Inclusive Minisitry participants have also gotten to know Cameron over the years.
"The first thing you will learn about Cameron is his love for the Lord, and his love for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He sees each individual as a person with something to offer," says Jane Tichenor. Her daughter Kate participates in Inclusive Ministries.
"It's been a great opportunity for Ginna to experience a spiritual life that is aimed toward her intellectual level," adds Carol Greer. Her daughter Ginna also attends bible study at Inclusive Ministries.
"I think a lot of our churches want to minister to individuals who have disabilities but if you've only got one or two individuals that it's pertinent to, it's difficult to have a program," adds Carol.
Cameron is hoping through Inclusive Ministries, he can one day help show churches across the country how to best serve and connect with members with disabilities.
"We want to be an organization that's kind of a voice for people with disabilities within the church realm, trying to walk along-side churches, almost teaching them and showing them -- this is how you implement these ministries, this is why this is important for your church, both for those with and without disabilities. Hopefully one day we can be that organization that helps churches across the country do that," he adds.
"This is sort of Ginna's church, you know," says Carol, talking about what Inclusive Ministries has been able to provide for her daughter. "It's her way to have church at her level of understanding, so it means a lot that she has something that she can call her own."
For taking risks and turning something he was passionate about into a reality to help others and starting up Inclusive Ministries, and using his full-time job at Bowling Green Parks and Rec. as an outreach to help the special needs community in our area, we honor Cameron Levis as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.