Middle School Spring Serve by Janelle Berschauer
John 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
What a privilege it is to be a part of what God is doing at BCS this year! The reunification of BCS & ECS Middle Schools has truly been a blessing to behold. We’ve witnessed the awkward forced meeting of young teens grow into sweet new bonds of friendship as they’ve stepped out of their comfort zones. It is through this lens that I reflect on our middle school spring service projects this year.
Our year began with a season of focusing inwardly on what it means to be a new combined middle school. This spring was a season when we challenged our students to look beyond themselves to the many ways we can show God’s love to our greater community. Lead by Alyssa Benham, our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes were each given the opportunity to choose a people group they wished to bless. Their ideas were broad as their eyes began to open to the needs around them.
This year 6th grade wanted to do something to bless the homeless in the Bellingham area. After collecting a large amount of donated items, they worked to assemble over 70 care bags that could be handed out to those in need. These bags contained items like socks, toiletries, snacks, and some even included dog food. A pastor and a couple law enforcement officers in our BCS community shared insights and experiences from working with homeless individuals. 6th grade recognized a need and found something they could do about it.
Our 7th graders wanted to show love to elderly people this year. The students planned activities including BINGO (always a BIG hit!) and cupcake decorating. They gathered supplies, baked cupcakes, made cards, and loaded up to visit residents at a local retirement facility for part of an afternoon. Of course, as often happens when you intend to bless others you find you’re the one feeling blessed. My heart was warmed by shared BINGO boards (with those a little less competitive), shared cupcake decorating, shared smiles, shared stories, shared handmade cards, and shared goodbyes as we left. 7th grade realized that elderly people might feel lonely and forgotten, and they found something they could do about it.
8th grade chose to bless a local foster care organization called Skookum House. They prepared a fun craft for foster children to be able to make for their foster care families at the annual family BBQ this summer. The students also took a tour of the facility and learned about what it’s like to enter the foster system, how this ministry responds, and about the huge need that exists in our area for children growing up in a very different reality from their own. 8th grade was moved by the need of local foster kids and found something they could do about it.
I imagine that many middle schoolers’ favorite memories from the year include fun moments from our other two awesome retreats. However, as a teacher and parent of a middle schooler myself, this spring service project fills me with hope. We’ve challenged them all year with our school wide theme of “BELIEVE” to explore what it means to both believe and act. What a privilege to expose students to needs and watch them respond with thoughtfulness, love, and grace in the name of Jesus. It thrills me to wonder what God may be calling them to do that will change lives in our community in His Name… not just some day when they grow up, but even now!