With a comprehensive outreach program in Elementary School, SVC students are actively engaged in serving others. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve …” Mark 10:45a
Jenna Milazzo, Elementary Outreach Director, is tasked with overseeing the program, which seeks not only to come alongside various ministries, charities and causes, but also to impart to our students the importance of servant leadership.
“In the past, we would choose a different organization to support each month,” said Ms. Milazzo. “But we have found that we can make a bigger impact when we work with fewer groups during the year because we can spend more time and energy supporting them than we could if we were supporting a larger number.. For this reason, we have gone to a two-month rotation for each of our chosen organizations.”
The 2019-20 school year got off to a great start, as Elementary students and staff partnered with Giving Children Hope, a faith-based organization which provides sustainable hope through wellness programs and disaster response. Their goal: to feed one family for every Elementary grade level.
Regardless of the organization supported, one common thread among all of the outreach initiatives is that all chapel offerings are earmarked for the organization which is being served at the time. But beyond financial contributions, there are opportunities to serve in other tangible ways. For instance, during last year’s effort for Teen Challenge (a Christian ministry which provides faith-based solutions to problems such as alcohol and drug addiction), students donated personal care items to the teens in the program. This filled a big need for the ministry.
Elementary Principal Lori Jensen said that the overarching model for the outreach program was influenced by Acts 1:8b: “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” “God clearly calls us to go into ALL of the world,” said Mrs. Jensen. “But He instructs us to start in our backyard — our Jerusalem. In light of this, we place an emphasis on partnering with organizations which serve our local community. We do support global initiatives, but the majority of our efforts are locally-based.”
Another important component of the Elementary program is providing opportunities for the entire family to serve together. We believe it’s important to partner with our parents in every area of our students’ experience at SVC — from the classroom to the lunch tables, to the fields, to the performance stage. But nowhere is this partnership more important that when it comes to our students’ spiritual development. “It’s so beautiful to see our students stepping out and serving others.” said Mrs. Jensen. ‘It’s even more beautiful seeing them do it with their families … I believe this blesses the Father’s Heart.”