West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for service learning

Grand Haven Christian School Students Discover Purpose in Service Learning

A heart for Service: Many Hands Working Together Lightens the Load

“Educating minds and shaping hearts for service to God in His world” is the mission statement of Grand Haven Christian (GHC).

Creating multiple opportunities for our students to serve within our community, based on their spiritual gifts, is instilling an awareness of needs in our world and a desire to meet those needs.

Middle school student, Matthew Bradford-Royle, has been serving at Grand Pines Assisted Living based on his spiritual gifts inventory. Meeting with the residents has been helpful to them and has made an impact on their lives through the activities completed, but the transformation in Matthew’s heart has been the hope of all service experiences provided at GHC.

Middle school student talking with elderly woman in wheelchair at table.

Matthew Bradford-Royle talking with a guest at Grand Pines Assisted Living.

“What I enjoy most about service learning is meeting new people and helping elderly people with things they struggle with. I try and make it as fun as it can be. It brings me joy to help others just like Jesus would. I actually want to work there as soon as I can. I am trying to volunteer there in my free time over the summer for the experience of helping others and because I enjoy being there. I get to know the residents better and they can learn more about me. Through this service, it made me realize that even if we’re younger, we can make a big impact on others and the community,” explains Mathew, who is a 6th grader at GHC.

What I enjoy most about service learning is meeting new people and helping elderly people with things they struggle with. I try and make it as fun as it can be. It brings me joy to help others just like Jesus would. I actually want to work there as soon as I can. I am trying to volunteer there in my free time over the summer for the experience of helping others and because I enjoy being there. I get to know the residents better and they can learn more about me. Through this service, it made me realize that even if we’re younger, we can make a big impact on others and the community.

Seeing the difference our service can make in the community has been eye-opening for other students as well. Yasmin VanderHeide was part of a group that recently sorted food that was picked up from the recent USPS Food Drive at Love in Action. A group of students sorted food for an hour and a half, but as they were finishing up, someone did the math and figured out that it would’ve taken one person 14 hours to do what they did in less than 2. For Yasmin, seeing how many hands truly did make the work so much lighter in such a tangible way, prompted her to realize how their work is really making a difference.

As students at GHC, from as young as preschool through 8th grade, the service-learning experiences are creating transformation in the hearts and minds of our students to see how serving others is changing them, just as much as it is helping the people we serve.

 About GHC

Located in beautiful Grand Haven, Michigan, Grand Haven Christian School offers the most comprehensive Christian day school program in the area. Teaching from the Reformed perspective that emphasizes Jesus as Lord of all areas of life, we offer classes for students preschool through 8th-grade in all regular academic disciplines as well as physical education, band, choir, music, visual arts, computer technology, and introductory Spanish. Contact GHC today for more information! 

Grand Haven Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

Service-Learning Means Fellowship at New Era Christian School

Peer-to-Peer: Sometimes Just Being a Friend is All Someone Needs

Every month, our 7th and 8th-grade students partner with a group of middle school students from the Oceana County area who have diverse learning abilities.

They all meet at The Ladder Community Center in Shelby. The Ladder is a friendly, intergenerational and ethnically diverse community center aimed at knowing and serving our neighbors and uniting our community around Christ so that lives are transformed. The Ladder is dedicated to impacting families by guiding people to love and follow Jesus, making the organization a great partner for NEC’s service-learning program.

 

The students of New Era Christian School come to the community center to enjoy their peers and build them up by spending quality time together and just having fun. Their activities range from old school games like pool and puzzles to getting creative with a giant game of spoons, four corners, among other things.

“My students are always so excited to be with the other kiddos!  They enjoy connecting with others just like typical kiddo!!  It has been a great experience for all.  I enjoy sitting back and watching the kids be kids!” shared Tonya Springer, of West Shore Educational Service District. West Shore ESD is a resource for all schools in the area and NEC works in partnership with them so they can all connect at The Ladder each month.

My students are always so excited to be with the other kiddos!  They enjoy connecting with others just like a typical kiddo!!  It has been a great experience for all.  I enjoy sitting back and watching the kids be kids!

This year they all performed Christmas carols using only their voices and spoons! It was a great time had by all. Nothing fancy. The key was the kids were present. No cell phones–simply face to face contact. Everyone connects and has a great time of laughter and fellowship. Being a friend to someone and playing together creates a powerful connection — for both the NEC students AND the kids that come to The Ladder. 

A few NEC students shared their reflections on their personal experiences at The Ladder this year:

“That day is a really big day for me. I usually hang out with Crystal. I don’t know what her disability is exactly, but she seems disconnected and younger than a typical fourteen-year-old. She is incredible at drawing and when we did a puzzle she did more than half the puzzle! I also was around another girl, Sharon, who is with autism. She seemed very shy and you could tell what she means by her hand motions more than her words. Overall, it has been a life changing experience to realize that everyone struggles with something but some things are more visible than others. They are still a child loved by God.” – NEC 8th grader Anna Morse.

“The Ladder is very fun. It is also very humbling because I have good social skills, I can run, and I get invited to parties. Gary and Rick struggle with those things.  I almost wanted to cry because of how humbled I was.  It makes me more sensitive to make sure all kids feel included.” -NEC 7th grader Brody Erickson.

This has been a great opportunity for our students to serve Jesus by serving others. It’s technically service-learning for NEC students but everyone is blessed in this win-win situation!

About NEC

Located in beautiful New Era, Michigan, New Era Christian School serves student preschool through 8th-grade. Of the many important decisions you’ll make in life, few are more significant than the ones that affect your children. Of these choices, selecting a school may well prove to be the most important. NEC exists to grow students in faith, academics, and personal maturity. To learn more about NEC contact us! 

New Era Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!