COLLINSVILLE • Friday’s lesson plan for students at the K-12 Collinsville Christian Academy was all about giving.
After the 8 a.m. bell, the school’s approximately 100 students set out on adventures that would take some to charities and businesses to donate their time where others are overwhelmed.
“I wanted the children to experience the blessing of helping others,” said Bob Lane, the school’s principal, of the inaugural event. “A lot of the younger generation is all about ‘me.’ We’re trying to show them something that’s better.”
At Good Samaritan Ministries of the Metro East’s Community Center, in Washington Park, middle- and high school students gave a deep cleaning to the facility at 5000 North Park Drive. They spent several hours mopping floors, cleaning baseboards and organizing donations that will be given to needy families in the community.
The ministry offers services six days a week, including life skills training, classes for moms and babies and an after-school program. It also gives out food, clothing and toys. JoAnn Baker, the executive director, said the building was in desperate need of the TLC given by the students.
“The building gets used a lot, and it’s a gradual build-up,” she said. “Our volunteers come in, do what they came to do, then they leave. And that’s that. What the kids are doing today is incredibly helpful.”
Austin Galloway, an 18-year-old senior at Collinsville Christian Academy, spent the morning cleaning a garage with several
other students. When they arrived, he said, donations in the garage were in disarray, strewn about on the floor and unable to be seen in some instances. In about an hour, he and the other teens had cleaned the room, hung up the clothes and organized other items for easy finding.
“It’s a good opportunity to do something outside of myself,” he said.
Many of the children from the elementary school spent the day visiting with residents at the Cedarhurst Assisted Living & Memory Care center, at 1207 Vandalia Avenue. In the morning, boys played games with some residents; in the afternoon, girls came by for a tea party.
“Bringing children in brings back memories” for older residents, said Mary Tebeau, the center’s activity director. “And when you’re around younger children, you feel younger.”
Don Hubert, 75, sat in a wheelchair in the corner of the common area, beneath a staircase, giving 9-year-old Caleb Adams a difficult time during a game of checkers.
“How do you do this?” he asked the third-grader.
“You’ve got to jump all my pieces,” Caleb said.
“Son, I’m in a wheelchair,” Hubert replied. “I can’t jump.”
“No! On the board,” Caleb said, putting his hand on his forehead, shaking his head side to side.
Hubert, who has been in the assisted living facility about a month, said he always enjoyed children, dressing as Santa Claus countless times over the years.
“I’ve got six grandchildren,” he said. “They’re great fun.”
Lane said he hopes getting the children out into the community will become a regular thing.
“As a school, I wanted to make a statement that the community has given to us for 31 years,” he said, “and we can give something, too.”