As we enter the season of Lent in our church it is a perfect time to get our students involved in activities which will teach the message of serving others. This year, coupled with the teaching of self-sacrifice, give your students opportunities to use their time and talents for the betterment of those in need.
There are many ways your students can experience this both in their parish community, in the outside area of their towns and cities, and in the larger world. The following are examples of ways students can get involved to make a difference in the lives of others, and thus make a more meaningful Lenten season in their own lives.
- For your own communities, students can assemble care packages for police officers to give to victims of abuse, neglect, fire, weather, and accidents.
- Decorate pet toys with ribbons and sell for donation to the Humane Society.
- Sell baked goods for dessert in the lunch room and/or collect dimes in the classroom for the March of Dimes.
- Bring in used books to sell to parents, students, and teachers to collect for the American Red Cross.
- Care for residents of local nursing or rehabilitation centers with cards, letters, or visits.
- Collect canned goods for the local soup kitchen or food pantry.
- Contact Habitat for Humanity and see how they can be involved in the local area.
- Go online to the Heifer International site and find a project to raise money used to purchase a gift animal or tree seeding to help families around the world to become self-reliant.
As you search for a meaningful project for your class, try to find something they will be involved in with the process. Sometimes, just bringing in Mom and Dad’s money for a jar on your desk does not help them see the meaning in what the service is. One way is to have an individual from an organization come and speak to the students, explaining what they do and where the need is. Then let students brainstorm how they can help the organization. Hopefully they can be involved in some physical way with the project. Take pictures at all steps along the way and display with a title of ‘Our Lenten Sacrifice’ or ‘Our Stewardship for Lent’ or ‘Using our Time and Talents.’
The best possible scenario would be to have an ongoing project. People are in need all through the year, not just in our Advent and Lenten seasons. It would make giving of ourselves a reality as part of the Christian steward’s life, not just a “project” to complete.