Western Michigan Christian students started the day Tuesday August 28 with praise and worship together and Principal Samuel Greer challenged the students to not only “get better” this year but to do so with a higher purpose: to shine for Christ. The students spent the rest of the day doing things together in purposeful way, including service in our community.
The middle school students went to Treetop Adventure Park in Grand Rapids having fun with a purpose. That purpose was to challenge themselves. “It was fun and challenging. I have done ropes courses before with my Scout Troup so it was not a new experience but it was still great to do,” said 7th grade student Hayden, “There were different challenge levels on the the ropes course and we could do easy, medium, hard. There were three levels of the easy and two levels each of the medium and hard.”
The high school students spent the afternoon serving with a purpose. In the past, all WMC high school students have gone out into the community to serve on the first day of school. This year the format was changed to have partner organizations come to the WMC campus and 9th and 10th grade students rotated through different service opportunities that included Christian Haven Home , MOCAP , Kids’ Food Basket , The Noah Project , and clean-up work done on the WMC campus.
We appreciate the students making the laundry detergent today and including encouraging notes so they know where the detergent packs came from.” Lakisha Churchwell, MOCAP Client Services/Outreach Specialist.
Lakisha Churchwell, Muskegon Oceana Community Partnership Inc. (MOCAP) Client Services/Outreach Specialist was at WMC while students made laundry detergent to be distributed from their pantry and looks forward to students serving in the future. “MOCAP provides assistance to low income families with day to day needs including bills, food, and laundry detergent like what was prepared by WMC students today. We appreciate students volunteers helping in our food program because it gives them a chance to step into the shoes of people that are not as fortunate as them and understand what it means to have to come to a pantry or a food truck to get what you need. We appreciate the students making the laundry detergent today and including encouraging notes so they know where the detergent packs came from,” Lakisha said.
Service with Kids’ Food Basket
Katie Beemer, Kids’ Food Basket Muskegon Kids Helping Kids Program Assistant came to WMC and students helped prepare supper packs, “We serve over 8,000 meals a day in West Michigan and the meals today will help provide a community solution to childhood hunger. We thank Western Michigan Christian students and families for the donating 489 lbs of and decorating 500 bags. That donation equals a monetary value of $2400. We appreciate your school and all that you do.” WMC Sophomore Cora helped decorate food bags, “I appreciate the opportunity to help others and it was fun creating positive messages and colorful pictures on the bags to help brighten a child’s day.”
Learning from Christian Haven Home
Marianne Stuparits, Life Enrichment Coordinator at Christian Haven Home in Grand Haven says she always appreciates being able to share their program with students, “Today we worked with WMC students to help them understand and experience the aging process. WMC students serve at Christian Haven Home throughout the year and this will help them to work with our residents in a more dynamic way.” Students had their fingers taped to experience what it may feel like to write with arthritis. They walked on popcorn to replicate corns, bunions or aches from losing fatty tissue in the feet. They also wore glasses with cloudy yellow tape simulating cataracts and poor vision, and ate mints with their nose plugged to understand the loss of taste.
I am glad we had the chance to better understand what someone older goes through on a daily basis,” said freshman student Jonas, “the most impactful for me was wearing the glasses. It was blurry and tinted and much different than I expected.
Service for The Noah Project
Students also made cat toys for the Noah Project in Muskegon. “Those cat toys were amazing,” said Noah Project Director Mashele Arndt, “They were so different and creative. We had Pioneer Resources come in and hang the toys for the cats who are not able to roam around. What a great day we had hanging those toys and having the cats play with them.”
Summer Lile, WMC AP Biology teacher who helped coordinate day one activities was excited for new opportunities to serve. “I think this is great because it gives our students and staff to connect with our local partners and serve not only today, but for the rest of the year.”
Service off-campus with Americorps
What’s really cool about having the WMC students here to clear these lots is that they can cut, clean, trim and weed and be done in about two hours. With my crew of three or four it will take about a week to do one lot.” Jason from Americorps.
Junior and senior students went on-site to help the Americorp Urban Safety Corps clean local lots in Muskegon Heights. Jason from Americorp appreciated the hard work and help from WMC students, “What’s really cool about having the WMC students here to clear these lots is that they can cut, clean, trim and weed and be done in about two hours. With my crew of three or four it will take about a week to do one lot. The help we received today will help us get a lot more done as we do this throughout Muskegon Heights. Once the lots are cleaned they can be sold to neighbors or used by local community organizations.”
Luke, a junior, enjoyed being outside with classmates, “It was sweet to know that we were helping clear the way for more things to be done in that space. Plus it was just fun to be be working hard with my classmates.”
Service off-campus with Community enCompass
It is always fun to know you are helping others. I wish we actually had more time to work but it is good knowing what we did is a part of something greater.” Sarah, WMC Senior.
Other junior and senior students went to the former Nims school building to help Community Encompass clear it out and prepare for refurbishing. Noah Hanes, who works at Community enCompass and graduated from WMC in 2013, supervised WMC students and staff who helped out at Nims. “Community enCompass partners with AvaSure who owns the Nims building and they do a lot of charitable work and community development in Muskegon. We appreciate the great work by WMC students and staff today pulling nails out of trim and moving materials out so they can be repurposed for this project and other projects we are working on. Students and staff are also helping us clean it and prepare it so AvaSure can have a new place to build and grow their patient monitoring and telemedicine company in Muskegon,” Noah said.
“It is always fun to know you are helping others. I wish we actually had more time to work but it is good knowing what we did is a part of something greater, said Sarah, a senior.
This was a transformational day,” said Assistant Principal Scott Liggett as he reflected on the first day of school at Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School. We have partnered with some local organizations along the lakeshore communities that we serve in order to live out part of our mission to equip students to work and serve Christ in their communities.