Archive for April, 2014
“Avon, a rather small snail, read a book every day. He loved to read because books told him all about the things that creatures did when they went on adventures . . . .Because Avon had never had an adventure of his own, the more he read, the sadder he became. It was absolutely necessary, he decided, to have adventures for himself” (Avi, 2004, p. 11-12).
And so begins Avon’s heroic quest, complete with a dragon in disguise. Avi’s whimsical word play and Tusa’s sketches enable readers to join Avon and Edward, the ant, on their journey from “here” to “there.” Even though they only journey to the end of the branch, their world grows bigger. Many insights unfold as the friends discover that getting lost is easy; whether rushing or going slowly one still arrives; and journeys are enriched when travelers share their interpretations of the worlds they encounter.
by Nancy Chambers, HCA 5th Grade Teacher
Nine years ago, the Lord led 5th grade teacher Teri Beaver to suggest that the two 5th grade classes walk from the Wheaton campus to Oakridge Assisted Living, to do an outreach, soon to be called “Grand buddies.” Each Friday we walked over after chapel to befriend senior citizens, and were quick to see what a two-way blessing it would be!
After we moved to the Zurich campus, one of the 5th grade parents encouraged me to continue the program. Even though it was across town, we started going bimonthly, and soon discovered it was a great way to continue serving the Lord. We do various activities such as Bible studies, color sheets, games, themed interviews, and performances. Recently we had pet day, when one of the students brought her dog, and we had fun talking about animals. Some of the Oakridge residents consider it the highlight of the week!
The activity director, Pam Rocklin, deeply appreciates our students, and the value of the program. The relationships the students form with the grand buddies is so worthwhile. There is no doubt that the students bring joy into their lives, but it also teaches the students so much:
- The students conduct periodic Bible studies, and by doing so, learn how to be the light of Christ and learn how to explain the Bible to another. While doing a study on Easter recently, the students learned how to explain the importance of believing that Jesus rose from the dead. Some of the residents know little about Christ, while others enjoy doing the studies as fellow believers.
- Recently two of the students prayed with one of the residents about the healing of another resident who broke her hip and is in rehab.
- They also pray for their grand buddies during our morning prayers.
- It teaches the importance of respecting our elders and reaching out to them in love.
- The students have fun while they are serving others. They discover the joy of serving Christ, while meeting another’s need.
- They use music to bring praise to the Lord when we celebrate music day with the residents.
Some of the residents teach the students as well. When asked the question about our resurrected Lord, a few residents responded,
“It is important to believe because it is worthless to believe in Jesus if you don’t believe He rose from the dead.”
“He has a glorified body, and we have a living Savior.”
“He is proving He is God.”
“He is the only living God.”
“To believe He redeemed our souls.”
When asked what the residents and the students have enjoyed the most about the program, here are a few responses from the residents:
Viola: “Learning about God, seeing the girls and coloring.”
Mike: “I have enjoyed the boys the most, spending time with each other and having conversation about the Lord.”
Mariam: “I have enjoyed getting to know and talk to the girls.”
Linda: “Having fun!”
Some of the students responded:
Kyli: “Having fun and teaching about God.”
Morgan: “Teaching about God.”
Montgomery said his favorite thing to do: “Talking to these wonderful Christians.”
Aidan: “Talking about the Lord with Mike and Virginia.”
When the students were asked why the program has been good for them to do, they responded:
“To learn the needs of others and to shine the light of Jesus.”
“To comfort them and be with them when they are lonely.”
“To spread God’s Word and comfort them.”
“To learn to love others more.”
“To bring a smile to people’s faces.”
“It has helped me to be more social and a little bit less shy.”
When I surveyed the students’ parents, one parent replied,
“I can’t say enough good things about the Oakridge buddy outreach. Not only do the children totally enjoy the interaction with the elderly there, I feel as though the elderly really enjoy the children as well. Haley’s grand buddy (Deborah) has no other relatives and doesn’t get visits from anyone but the children. We’ve seen a drastic change in her since we first met her. At first she seemed unhappy and didn’t have much to share or say, but now she smiles so much and loves to hear Bible scripture. Haley asked Deborah how she likes their visits and she said she wouldn’t change anything about it and loves them and always looks forward to seeing everyone.”
Some of the students plan to spend additional time outside of school with the grand buddy. We have also invited them to our huge event of the year, as well, our Literary Tea. Jesus has commanded us that the most important thing to do is to love the Lord with all our heart, strength, soul and mind, and secondly to love others as well. The students have been putting both of these commands into action, as they have developed relationships with their grand buddies. May they continue to see the importance of loving and serving others, especially the elderly. This has proven to be a valuable program, teaching more than we can measure, and giving students the opportunity to be a witness for Christ!