From their earliest moments in preschool through the end of high school, students at Plymouth Christian Academy (PCA) learn the importance of giving back to the community through participating in numerous service projects throughout their academic careers.
Whether it’s organizing the annual Red Cross blood drive, ringing the Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas Bells or packing supplies at World Medical Relief in Southfield, students are encouraged to spread kindness throughout the community.
Because the staff and faculty at PCA consider service to be such a high priority, for more than a decade, students, staff and parent volunteers have let their faith show in their neighborhood and surrounding communities through the Project SHINE (Serving Him In Neighborhoods Everywhere) Program. Project SHINE is a weeklong community service initiative that will take place this year from April 15 to 18.
“The service work accomplished during this week is very important, but even more important is the opportunity to open the eyes of our students to the needs of those in our community who live in very different circumstances,” says Peggy Paulson, Project SHINE Coordinator.
These experiences help students have a better understanding of the needs and struggles of others – and ultimately break down barriers, giving students a chance to meet people outside of their sphere.
“We are passionate to create as many of those face-to-face physical, hands-on learning services,” says Beth Larabee, PCA’s Project SHINE Director. Throughout the week of Project SHINE, PCA serves an average of 18 nonprofit organizations. Prior to serving, each grade is educated about the organization they will serve and the reason it has been selected. If a child attends PCA from preschool through 12th grade, they will encounter a different worthy organization each year, expanding their classroom learning beyond the walls of the school.
Service throughout the year
In addition to Project SHINE, service is emphasized and projects are taking place all the time, from Bible classes to class meetings to weekly chapels. All students in grades 7-12 are required to perform service work each quarter. There are even more requirements for those who are members of the various honor societies at PCA such as the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, German National Honor Society, and Spanish National Honor Society.
“Finally, the entire school participates in all-school service projects, generally around Thanksgiving,” Larabee adds. “This past fall, our students packed 10,000 meals in one day for children in Bangladesh.”
Community service is instilled in students from a very young age and is an integral part of what Plymouth Christian Academy does.
“It is part of our DNA at Plymouth Christian,” Larabee says. “Our mission is for our kids to be a transforming influence in their world, long after they leave our hallways.” A heart to serve others is part of the way they will influence their world for generations to come.
For more information on Plymouth Christian Academy, visit plymouthchristian.org.