Service is at the heart of Anabaptism and is an important part of what defines us and causes us to stand out and be different. Our aim is to have students develop a heart of service. We intentionally integrate service into curriculum beginning with our youngest students in various ways and through our Learn to Serve program that extends into high school years.
Service begins at the elementary level with each class completing a service project yearly.
These include stocking shelves at Maranatha Food Pantry (1st grade), visiting folks at Penn Hall (2nd grade), tying lap blankets (4th grade), holding a pajama drive for children involved with Women in Need (Kindergarten) or running the recycling program at Shalom (3rd grade). Our 2nd & 5th graders serve as small group leaders in their respective chapels. Fifth grade students set up chairs for chapel each week and serve as escorts during Grandparents Day. Our 4th and 5th grade students serve 1st graders by being Victory Drill listeners and reading partners.
The culmination of the elementary service work is an independent project in 5th grade. Students can choose from Pregnancy Ministries, Menno Haven, or the Cumberland Valley Relief Center to name a few. They must complete at least two - 1 hour service opportunities and then present their experience to the class and in chapel.
In Middle School, service components are integrated into various field trips and throughout the school day as needed with school with office tasks or helping a teacher. In 7th grade, many students visit elementary classrooms and read to students or help them with homework. The relationships formed with younger students is mutually beneficial as they interact with each other in meaningful ways. These connections last long after the Learn to Serve class is over. They continue greet each other in the hallway and be a familiar face out of school hours.
Each high school student is required to log 20 hours of service work per year. Many of them exceed this time. There have been service projects taken on by classes such as the high school cooking class making and serving meals for Circles which is a local mentoring program to needy families. Students in the high school Tech-ed program have gotten wood piles ready for a family in need of extra help. Other ways students learn to incorporate a servants’ heart is by volunteering to work in classrooms as teacher helpers or in the office to help with tasks such as running the announcements to classrooms. Some classes require extra hours outside of the classroom such as Sound and Lights where students spend extra time setting up for the school’s dramas and programs. These acts of service incorporate their gifts and talents.
Seniors have a cross cultural experience which encompasses a missions trip. Experiencing another culture outside or within the United States is an expansion of serving those who are not in our day to day circle. Each mission trip is service oriented where students are serving missionaries in developing programs to help the local people have a more sustainable environment and work on job training for sustainable jobs. Students teach Bible stories, share and play with children, and work alongside the local people in building projects.