Each February, junior high and high school students at Santa Clarita Christian School pile into cars to serve at more than a dozen locations throughout Los Angeles County and the Santa Clarita Valley.
The two-day event called iServe encourages students to complete service projects throughout the community and “live out their faith,” according to SCCS leaders.
“This opportunity gives students a chance to truly live out their faith,” said Natalie Clapper, SCCS Student Activities Director. “This gives them an opportunity to practice what they have been taught, and see how their faith can truly be lived out.”
The iServe event has been a staple of SCCS for more than a decade as teachers choose and plan service projects for the approximately 240 junior high and high school students to participate in.
“Some teachers pick places they have served at before and want to bring students, too; other teachers pick places based off of a need they hear of from their church; and some just find organizations who take volunteers regularly,” Clapper said.
Year-to-year these organizations and locations tend to change, but often teachers revisit the same paces each year due to relationships they built with organizations.
“Other times, a need will arise and we will fill it accordingly,” Clapper said. “For example, we have a group that is bringing packages to first responders in the Santa Barbara and Ventura counties that were affected by the recent fire. This was chosen specifically this year as we have seen the devastation of the fires take place.”
After hearing about each service opportunity during a school-wide chapel, students then have the opportunity to select their three top choices for projects they would like to work on.
“We try to place students in one of their top three choices, but we know the Lord has placed them in a specific group where they will be able to fill a need,” Clapper said.
This year, SCCS students had 10 different service opportunities to choose from throughout Southern California.
They could hand out clothes and cook food at Fred Jordan Mission, clean and prepare facilities at The Gentle Barn, complete odd jobs around Crossroads Community Church and Real Life Church, help with maintenance at The Oaks Conference Center and Camp, make lunches and collect supplies for Bridge to Home and sing to assisted living homes throughout Santa Clarita.
They could also package goodies and write notes to alumni in the military, organize and bag groceries for Help the Children Warehouse, deliver groceries to a mobile home park in Canyon Country, clean up buildings damaged by the recent fires at Hollywood Impact Studios, complete grounds and clerical work at Grace Baptist Church, sort food and restock shelves at the SCV Food Pantry and organize and sort books and study materials at the SCCS Resource Center.
Finally, students also had the ability to participate in a two-day Special Olympics at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center and in the SCCS gym.
The two-day event included playing different games, coaching participants, cheering on the athletes, handing out awards and serving attendees dinner.
“I hope the students take away a sense of thankfulness for what they have and what the Lord has done for them, a heart to serve others, a sense of compassion and empathy, and a mindset of selfishness,” Clapper said. “Our hope is that we set an example for the need of service to be a pattern in their lives.”
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_