Students Actively Involved In Community Outreach
October 26, 2009
Students and staff at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy have been actively involved in community service, with students having already participated in 1,002 hours of service over the past summer and 825 hours so far this first quarter. This year, the goal of Steve Martin, community service director, is ”to plan community service projects where students can have direct interaction with the community and see some kind of tangible result of their service.”
Students have enthusiastically responded this year to the variety of opportunities Mr. Martin has planned. As he stated, “I have not been able to keep the community service participant lists open this year. They are always full, and students are frequently asking when there will be more opportunities available.”
On a weekly basis, students have participated in ongoing ministries at the Healdsburg Senior Living Center Weekly and Healdsburg Animal Shelter. Other outreach activities so far this year include repairing a sandbox and painting a mural at the Kid Street Learning Center, painting the interior of a foster care group home in “Children’s Village,” beach clean-up in Bodega Bay, providing support for the Santa Rosa marathon, organizing the library at the Redwood Gospel Mission, assisting in Rio’s sports camp for small Northern California Conference schools, doing yard and house work for a Healdsburg woman, and raising almost $400 by
holding car washes for Open Table, a homeless ministry.
For many, the most popular outreach activity is “Open Table,” when the entire church moves out of the sanctuary and to the streets of Santa Rosa. Last year Pastor Krystalynn Martin wanted to find a way to get both the students and adults in the Rio church to step out of their comfort zones and become more involved in the community. As she explained, I didn’t want everyone just to “go to church” but to “be the church;” for “in the words of Jesus, whatever we do to the least of these, we are doing it to Him (Matthew 25:40).” Consequently, she and her husband Steve began formulating plans to have the entire church participate in an outreach program they named “Open Table,” after seeing a book with this title promoted in a youth ministries magazine. Last year, Rio sponsored three Open Tables. This year the services provided have been increased, and three events have also been scheduled—including one Open Table, which just took place October 17.
Open Table started with the school providing some unsorted clothing, music, a few speakers, and a meal. For the most recent Open Table, participants from Redwood Adventist Academy and the Santa Rosa church joined, and many more services were provided. Volunteers sorted the large number of clothing items into men’s, women’s and children categories. In addition, student volunteers handed out $500 worth of men’s and women’s toiletries from Walmart, who donated $150 worth. Services included resume printing and, new this year, bike repair, which proved to be very popular. Programming included multiple music groups and a short devotional thought by Pastor Martin. For lunch, the Rio cafeteria staff served over 200 visitors. The students helped serve the meal as well as helping to fund it by voting for the cafeteria not to prepare a meal the night before but just to provide a light snack. Future plans are to include free haircuts and more job resources.
According to Mr. Martin, “Open Table is a highlight for many students as they can see that they are actually making a difference in the lives of many people right within the local community.” Anyone interested in donating clothing or funds for Open Table should contact either Steve or Krystallyn Martin.