There are many reasons why schools require students to earn community service hours, and there are many ways for these purposes to be accomplished. However, the primary focus at Delmarva Christian Schools is for their students to actively and intentionally show love through service.
“Some see community service simply as being volunteer work intended to help people or improve a community,” said Director of Advancement Justin Savini. “And yes, it can even be said that when students participate in community service projects, they are taught life lessons that build character; however, it’s much more than that at DCS. Our desire is for our students to develop an unselfish, innate mind-set that fosters love for and service to others before themselves.”
To help accomplish this, Delmarva Christian creates two school-wide service project opportunities every year, one each in fall and spring, for students and staff. The school also develops a focus-centric school theme. From these, other projects grow organically throughout the student body.
“This year’s school theme is Love In Action,” said Dean of Students Mary Beth Rimmer. “What an encouragement it has been seeing this theme resonate with our students, and how even now, with all that is going on, they continue to have the heart and commitment to serve.”
Almost immediately after Gov. Carney’s stay-at-home orders, students in Caroline Schneck’s history class began writing more than 80 letters of encouragement and gratitude to residents at The Moorings at Lewes senior living community and the Delaware Veterans Home in Milford.
“My students wrote specifically to the veterans expressing their gratitude for preserving the freedoms that they now see as unique to America,” said Schneck. “They also provided basic information about themselves, shared their faith, offered words of encouragement, and even told the veterans that learning about the Revolution, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, the electoral college, and Alexander Hamilton’s financial plans were among their favorite things this year.”
Other Delmarva Christian students have been making masks for healthcare professionals and other essential workers; conducting Bible studies and reading books to their younger siblings; raking and cleaning yards; making phone calls to those who live alone; preparing meals; and cleaning beyond normal chores.
On May 1, science teacher Tiffany Haley celebrated Delmarva Christian’s annual spring legacy serve-a-thon, a school-wide community service day, by challenging her students to think about the kind of legacy they would want to leave behind. She also encouraged them to take time to serve those who are currently at home with them.
Junior Olivia Owens chose to honor her mother by ordering and picking up dinner for the family. Following the meal, Olivia organized a lighthearted arm-wrestling marathon in an effort to encourage everyone at home.
Biology student Isabelle Donihue decided to clean out the family's pantry, which needed hours of attention. Isabelle disposed of old food and organized what remained. "As I was cleaning, I realized this is kind of what Jesus does in our own lives," said Isabelle. "We are like old, cluttered pantries, stuffed with junk we don't need ... and then Jesus comes in and cleans us out. He finds what we do need while taking out the junk."
Junior Alexis Rakow met the challenge by cleaning her family's home and taking care of their 3-month-old puppy.
Freshman Keelie Conaway appreciated the opportunity, hoping she could build a legacy similar to the one left by her great-grandfather. "Leaving a legacy is a big deal to me," said Keelie. "I saw how my great-grandfather left such a great legacy and planted roots in the lives of people around him. He was a pillar of the church and will forever be remembered for his service."
Delmarva Christian's school buildings may be closed, but the school is still open and learning is ongoing.
Delmarva Christian Schools – one school, two campuses, three programs – endeavoring to mature young people to be biblically minded, well-educated, critical thinkers as they seek to discover their life calling.