Summer Day Camp Counselor Application ~ Personal References
Employee Statement of Faith ~ Staff Standard of Conduct

In the early 1920’s, Helen Haien had a vision to reach children from lower income families in Peoria with the love of Jesus. She went out, picked up children, and brought them back to her house on Sanger Street for an all day Sunday School. Over the years, her Sunday School grew so large that she had to move out of the house on Sanger and into an old brewery on Olive Street.

Today, Helen’s vision continues. Programs for inner-city youth serve an average of 150 children a week in a variety of ministries including:

Summer Day Camp

Each summer, Monday through Friday, South Side Mission operates a Day Camp for school-age children. Participants enjoy swimming, crafts, outings, lunch, Bible studies, and a whole lot of fun. Fees for Day Camp are $200 for 61605 residents and $350 for non-61605 residents for the 8 week term and should be paid in advance. Registration forms for the summer of 2016 will be available May 1st.

For information about enrolling in any after-school program or Day Camp please call the South Side Mission Youth Department at 676-4604 x2131.

Every summer we hire 8 camp counselors for this program. If you are a Christian, 18 years or older, and want to minister to children this summer, click here for more information.

After School
Each weekday, around 40 students come to the Mission for our after-school tutoring program. They receive quality tutoring from volunteers and staff in all academic subjects. Participants also enjoy a hearty snack, Biblical instruction, and other activities.

After-School Tutoring
Each weekday, around 70 students come to the Mission for our after-school tutoring program. They receive quality tutoring from volunteers and staff in all academic subjects. Participants also enjoy a hearty snack, Biblical instruction, and other activities.

Family Mentoring and Parenting Education
Adults interested in developing strong Christian family life can participate in weekly programs which provide Biblical instruction, fun activities, and opportunities to network with others for prayer support and sharing ideas.

Girls & Boys Clubs
Three tremendous clubs help young people age 6 through 18. Students learn how to be the best young men and women of God they can be. Boys and Girls enjoy outings, crafts, games, Bible studies, and a whole lot of fun!

Teen Center
The Teen Center hosts after school homework help, a drop in game room, classes on various topics, outings, and parties. Each spring, some of the teens take a mission trip to help others in need. The teens also have a summer program. All of the programs incorporate Biblical teaching and facilitate connecting with positive role models. Go to Teen Center page.

Winter Basketball
Each Saturday during the winter, the South Side Mission gymnasium is filled with teams of boys and girls practicing and competing at Basketball. Caring adult coaches stress sportsmanship and model the Christian walk as they work with the children. What better way for kids to get rid of cabin fever than to get plenty of exercise, and learn about God!

Youth Orchestra
The Youth Orchestra is dedicated to reaching Peoria’s inner city students with the Good News of Jesus Christ as they learn the techniques of playing in an orchestra. The SSMYO seeks to provide:

  • Musical instruction from experienced teachers
  • Self-discipline, teamwork, self-expression
  • Mentoring relationships
  • Positive learning environment
  • The study of God’s Word
  • Note reading skills
  • Quality instruments and accessories
  • Ensemble and individual instruction
  • Fun and joyful process learning life skills!!

Rehearsals/lessons take place on Wednesdays after school. The students frequently perform around the community!

Do you have a gift or talent to share? Our programs are successful due to awesome volunteers – like you. E mail to learn how to get involved in our Youth Department. You can make a difference in the life of a child.

Wish List

Full length, child friendly bibles for 1st through 8th graders.
Gift certificates to use for incentives.


Gigi Gibson, Director – Gigi has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Urban Youth Ministry. Gigi is a veteran of Youth Ministries. She has severed in her local church as Christian Education Assistant Director, Sunday School Teacher for children, and juniors. Currently, she serves as Director of Youth Department and young adults, and Praise Dance Director, As such, Gigi brings a unique perspective to South Side Mission’s Youth Department.

Additionally, Gigi has inner workings with Peoria Public Schools District 150, where she was employed for thirteen years as a Home School Facilitator, and Educator. In those positions, she had the privilege of interacting daily with children in the classroom as well as in the home environment. Gigi is a graduate of Peoria Public Schools District 150 and Illinois State University.

Gigi is the co-founder and principal of Women of Destiny, not-for-profit women’s recovery and motivational ministry; which utilizes available resources to empower women to fulfill their spiritual destiny. Gigi was a former co-host on Illinois Central College WAZU FM 90.7.

Last, Gigi strengthens her faith while serving in her local church, (where her husband is the Pastor) and spending time with her family, and close friends, who are a great source of motivation.


Mike Winters – I grew up in Mississippi and moved to Peoria in 1985. I am blessed by God for the passion he gave me to touch growth in kids, at the beginning of their learning. South Side Mission gives me the opportunity to freely share the love of God through biblical life skills showing the transformational love He has for us, especially the youth.




Debra Young – I was born and raised in Peoria. I attended Lincoln, Tyng Primary, Trewyn Jr. High, and Manual High School and received my Associates Degree in Accounting from Illinois Central College in 1999. My first job out of high school was a Dietary Aide with Methodist Hospital. Then I made the wonderful decision to serve my country in the Marine Corps for 7 years. After returning home I worked for a number of social service organizations before being hired by South Side Mission in 2005.

I am currently the Office Manager/Girls Coordinator, working with children, teens and their families in the Youth Department. God has given me a great gift to be able to work with youth of all ages and their families and witness the amazing impact He has on their lives. It is a great blessing knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of youth and their families.