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SnaPShot of the Week

MS Day of Service Models Kindness through Compassion

Since the founding of our Middle School, the Middle School Day of Service has been an important part of the curriculum. Chaplain Brenton Smith shares, “this important practice of time set aside to actively love our city is foundational to the PS middle school faith programming.” At Presbyterian School, our goal is for every student to be involved with service to our community.  We believe that service provides needed perspective by reminding us all to be more like Jesus, “to serve and not be served (Matthew 20:28).”  These projects highlight the importance of giving back and gratitude.

“Each of you will make a difference in someone’s life,” Chaplain Nathan Tenney told the middle school students as they gathered for prayer in Palm Court before fanning out to their respective assignments on their Day of Service. Students and faculty worked alongside seven community organizations as they followed Jesus' example of showing compassion to our neighbors. On Friday, March 10, all middle school students and faculty went out across Houston to participate in volunteer projects that included decorating bags and packing lunches for Kids Meals; assembling lunch bags for the Emergency Aid Coalition; sorting food donations at the Houston Food Bank; creating crafts with preschoolers at Nehemiah Center; preparing and serving meals for homeless individuals at The Beacon, cleaning and organizing at Agape Development, and planting, weeding, and harvesting at the Main Street Ministries Community Garden and Hermann Park Conservancy. 

“Our Middle School Day of Service is an integral component of service learning at Presbyterian School as we live into our core value of compassion.” said Rev. Nathan Tenney. “Sending our students and faculty into the community strengthens our relationships with our service partners as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the community. Recalling Jesus' words in Mark 9:35 and 12:31, our hope is that our students live into Jesus' instruction to serve others as we love our neighbor as ourselves.”

"The Middle School Day of Service program offers our students the opportunity to live into the PS Motto, 'As children of God, we respect ourselves, each other, and the environment.' There can be no better practice of this motto than in service to other institutions in the greater Houston area." said Head of Middle School, Charlie Gramatges. "As students serve, they learn how our community partners thrive and how our contribution to their work supports the collective mission to grow and develop the city of Houston.  Our Day of Service facilitates the interpersonal development of our middle school students so they may be ready to act as servant leaders in the years to come."

After returning to campus, students met in small advisory groups to discuss the day. Questions such as “ How were you able to put the needs of others first today?” or “Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Why is caring about the well-being of others important?” The reward most students described was a deep sense of gratitude gained by helping others and the surprising connections they formed. 

In closing, students and faculty prayed that the day’s experience would light a fire in their hearts to find meaningful ways to serve others, and that their hands were “the hands through which Jesus blesses the world.”

Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’” – Matthew 25:35-40


ABOUT OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL DAY OF SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

Houston Food Bank serves those who are considered food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough nutritious food to fuel a healthy life. HFB distributes food and other essentials to those in need across 18 counties in and around Houston.
Project: Sorting food donations in HFB warehouse.

Hermann Park Conservancy is a nonprofit citizens’ organization dedicated to the stewardship and improvement of Hermann Park through conservation and stewardship, tree care, as well as operations and general park maintenance.
Project: Weeding and mulching in Hermann Park.

The Beacon serves individuals experiencing homelessness by providing daily services, civil legal aid, counseling and mentoring and housing case management. It provides essential and next-step services to restore hope and help end homelessness in Houston.
Project: Preparing and serving meals at the Day Center.

Agape Development strives to bring hope and transformation to Houston communities through economic, emotional, and spiritual empowerment. Agape Development collaborates with its neighbors to build skills and develop community leaders.
Project: Various cleaning and organizing projects.

Emergency Aid Coalition (EAC) is an interfaith organization that collaborates to provide temporary assistance in the form of food, clothing and basic needs, with an emphasis on serving the working poor in the city of Houston.
Project: Making sack lunches.

Main Street Ministries, empowered by the love of Jesus, strives to build paths out of poverty. The Community Garden is a natural sanctuary that glorifies God’s creation while providing a beautiful space for community building and healing.
Project: Working in the garden.

Nehemiah Center creates a safe haven in which children are motivated, inspired and equipped to realize their God-given potential. It provides education for students while helping their families find resources necessary to have stability in the home.
Project: Working with children in the school.

Enjoy a few Middle School Service Day photos below.

 

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