Neighborhood Service March 19, 2019 08:55

High school cultivates a relationship of service with neighboring elementary school

Service to others requires personal sacrifice. Fostering the character trait of service within children requires ongoing opportunities for them to give of themselves for the benefit of others. One school that is nurturing a culture of character is Bethesda Christian School of Fort Worth, Texas.

Bethesda takes high school student volunteers on bi-weekly visits to another school in its community, David E. Smith Elementary, where the younger students receive academic and relational tutoring.

The relationship between the two schools began in 2011 with a Bethesda service event. Dubbed Family Fusion, the school-wide day of service activities involved Bethesda students, parents and staff. One of the projects included landscaping the campus grounds at David E. Smith, located just minutes away from Bethesda. That day sparked a relationship between the two schools that has deepened over time and expanded into include a variety of programs serving David E. Smith students.

 In 2017, with approval from the administrators at both schools, Bethesda instructor Keith Chadwick began using his class time once a week to bus his students to David E. Smith in order for them to assist David E. Smith teachers. Bethesda volunteers aided the teachers by tutoring their students and helping with other classroom activities. 

Madeline Parish and Casey Smith are among the high school students who volunteer their time and resources to tutor and mentor at David E. Smith.  Madeline developed a structured tutoring curriculum for the program three years ago, during her freshmen year of high school.  Although drawn to the program because of the opportunity to invest in the lives of younger girls, Madeline stated that she has benefitted personally from the experience as well.  The Bethesda senior stated that the David E. Smith program has taught her to be a better leader, as well as helped her become more articulate. She cited that she has developed greater clarity and precision her words, as well as mindful and intentional about how she speaks.  Another highly involved student, Casey Smith, stated that working with David E. Smith students has taught him to be more open, not live in a bubble, and understand how deeply he could impact the lives of others.

In a very “me-centered” world, these high school students seek to reach outside their daily demands and expand their realm of influence to help those in need. Honorable Character commends these special students for their selflessness, their willingness to dedicate their valuable time, and their characters of service toward their community.

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