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Senior Service

January 24, 2019
By Neil Zandstra

Students at Illiana can choose take Senior Service as an elective Bible credit during their senior year. This course gives students the opportunity to volunteer two periods a day for a semester at Crown Point Christian School or Park Place of St. John. These students give back to these communities by helping grade papers, leading small groups, tutoring, and teaching lessons at CPCS or by playing games, helping with technology or visiting with residents at Park Place. Here’s what a few students had to say about their experiences last semester:

“These kids have a huge impact on my life... I can show the love of Christ to the kids and people at Crown Point Christian. This class taught me the importance of giving back to the community and helping out in any way I can. It was a blessing to be even just a small part of those kids’ lives. I am planning on becoming a small group leader for Sunday school at my church because I realized how much I love kids and how important it is to influence them in a positive way at a young age.“ - Isaac Gibson

“Senior Service has been the biggest blessing in my life this year. I learned so much about myself, teaching, and God. One of the biggest things I learned in Senior Service about teaching is how you don’t have to give up your other talents. It’s not a job that you have to leave all your passions and talents behind. I like to be creative, make crafts, song, and come up with fun games. I can easily incorporate this into my future of teaching. The Bible talks so often of children and how we can learn a lot from them. Being in a kindergarten classroom strangely taught me a lot. Children are so colorful and radiate joy and excitement everywhere they go… Kindergarteners don’t care about what you wear, who you’re friends with, and really who you are. They just love you and want to have fun with you. They are honest and have a faith that can move mountains. This is part of what Jesus meant when he said to have a childlike faith.” - Summer Ruiter

“Senior Service was a great experience that taught me many things. I learned how to work with elderly people at Park Place and how to be patient with them. It was an eye-opening experience, because it really made me realize how fast life goes. Sometimes the residents would tell me stories about their childhood… The residents were very excited to see me whenever I got there, so it made me feel very welcome and that I could be comfortable with them. One man at the Hope House talked to me about my future and gave me a lot of great advice, which actually really helped me. He was very interested in my future career and it was nice to talk with someone who has had so much experience in life.” - Alli Murrin

“Every day of Senior Service was amazing. I had so much fun. But more importantly I felt like I was doing such a good thing. I felt as if I was bettering the place and helping out so much. I felt accomplished. I felt as if I was changing their lives for the better. Whatever the residents wanted, we would do. Alli and I on most days would help the residents with electronics and technology. Helping them with such a small thing, changed their day. It put a huge smile on their faces. I am very thankful I got to do that with them and help them. This experience helped me spread the love and word of Jesus, which is absolutely amazing. This experience brought me closer to God and the community.” - Emily Poortenga

As you can see from these students’ comments, Senior Service can be a life-changing experience. We are so blessed to partner with these two organizations that share our mission of spreading the love of Jesus wherever we go and whatever we do.

Neil Zandstra, Guidance Counselor