CHCA students recently took part in Service Intersession, which is a unique, weeklong immersion experience for the Upper School Grade 7-8 students. The program's goal is for students to engage with communities and service organizations from a place of mutual respect and admiration for the people they serve. Students apply Biblical learning into their experience, seeking to identify strengths within themselves and others, regardless of their current situation.
Accompanied and guided by their teachers, students grow as they start to understand how God's word through scripture and their own unique traits can help them make an impact serving in God’s world. They challenge and strengthen their Christian faith as they engage respectfully with different cultures and viewpoints.
All Grade 7 students began their week doing team-building activities and service at Camp Chatauqua in Miamisburg. They then spent the remainder of the week serving at a variety of locations in smaller groups, including Vineyard Healing Center, local foodbanks, and other ministries throughout Cincinnati. CHCA Science Teacher Teresa Null shared, “What I loved most about Grade 7 Intersession was witnessing the students discover their spiritual gifts in the context of service. It was exciting to see leaders and servants emerge as they were working together away from the regular classroom.”
A group of Grade 8 students chose the All Creatures Great and Small course which was a service immersion project serving preschool/primary school children in Greater Cincinnati. The teenagers’ first day was spent fostering appreciation for the importance of early childhood education. They then visited preschool/primary classrooms and child service organizations. The students taught STEM learning stations about animals with CHCA Armleder kindergarten students, CHCA EBL Grade 1 students, and Hamilton Highland Elementary second graders. They also volunteered at Hamilton Living Water Ministry, an organization that serves needy students in urban Hamilton. To wrap up the week, the students enjoyed a field trip to the Cincinnati Zoo with their Armleder kindergarten buddies. “It was wonderful to see our students connect with young children,” shared CHCA Math Teacher Linda Bollman. “The love and respect they showed the little ones was uplifting.”
Gr 8 student Brynn Overdeck shared this about her week:
"I enjoyed serving during Intersession because I was able to help young children learn and it was fun to see things from their eyes. The excitement they would have when building bird nests was my favorite. I think this was because they knew what they were doing was going to help something and I knew I was helping them. Being able to serve the kids while they were serving God's creatures was truly amazing and made my experience so special."
One group of Grade 8 students served at Clutter2Care, a family-owned nonprofit established in 2018 by a CHCA family. This thrift store aims to raise funds for at-risk and marginalized children in the community and all over the world. Students spent their week helping with displays; packing, pricing, and sorting items; serving customers; and more. Grade 8 Science Teacher Aaron Pertuset shared, “We were so happy to join the incredible volunteers at Clutter2Care for a great week of service! Their joy and passion for helping our city and beyond is such an inspiration for our CHCA community.”
A group of Grade 8 students spent the week immersed in learning and serving in Downtown Cincinnati. They partnered with St. Vincent de Paul to learn about the needs present in the community. Each day they were led in activities that built their understanding and empathy for God’s people and were then led in service activities. The students volunteered in a variety of local organizations, including a food pantry, a Cincinnati public school, and a homeless shelter.
Some Grade 8 students traveled to Wheelwright, Kentucky to work with Big Creek Missions and serve families in need in Appalachian Kentucky. Big Creek Missions serves its local community through construction, food and clothing services. The mission also serves the community through partnerships with local food pantries, clothing centers, churches, and nursing homes. Students were divided into small work teams to work on home repairs ranging from roof repair to constructing wheelchair ramps. The group also enjoyed a hike at Red River Gorge and spent plenty of special times in worship and devotions.
“Grade 7-8 Intersession was a powerful week for our students,” shared CHCA Upper School 7-8 Assistant Principal Holly Metzger. "Our hope is that students begin to uncover their own areas of service that ignite them. The week was a time for them to get beyond classroom walls and learn, lead, and serve in new ways. It was amazing to watch the students shine in situations that challenged them to grow in Christ.”
Photos courtesy of CHCA Upper School 7-8 Teachers. More photos here.
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