The 2015-2016 theme at Delmarva Christian Schools is “One Body—Wholehearted Service.” The students at Delmarva Christian High School are not only encouraged to serve the community but are allotted opportunities to do so throughout the school year. On Friday, November 6, students and staff at Delmarva Christian High School participated in Return to the Community Day, a school-wide day of service.

“Return to the Community Day is an annual event at DCHS,” said Kristin Bennett, DCHS school nurse and Return to the Community Day coordinator. “It’s one of the two days a year that we designate specifically for community service. Instead of going to class, the students go out and serve the community to give back.”

“For my community service, my mom, dad, and myself cleaned up trash off of Sylvan Acres Road,” said Colby Morris, a DCHS freshman. “It impacted me and the person, Mr. Romer, that I served because he recently had surgery on his leg that would make him unable to clean up trash at the time. It made me realize how much trash that there can be on one road! My parents and I worked from about 8:30 to 3:00, and we got about ninety-five percent of the road cleaned up. We’re planning to finish the rest of it over the weekend.”

“For my community service, my mom, dad, and myself cleaned up trash off of Sylvan Acres Road,” said Colby Morris, a DCHS freshman. “It impacted me and the person, Mr. Romer, that I served because he recently had surgery on his leg that would make him unable to clean up trash at the time. It made me realize how much trash that there can be on one road! My parents and I worked from about 8:30 to 3:00, and we got about ninety-five percent of the road cleaned up. We’re planning to finish the rest of it over the weekend.”

In the past, Delmarva Christian High School students and staff were assigned to service groups; but, in the effort of making the service day a more meaningful experience for the students, protocol changed a couple of years ago.

“This is the second year that we’ve had the students seek out their own service project,” said Bennett. “They find somebody in need—usually someone through their church or a neighbor—contact them to find what work they need done, and then go out and do it.”

Briana Taylor (right) with her brother, Josiah, and DCHS science teacher, Mr. John Jochum raking leaves on Delmarva Christian High School’s Return to the Community Day on Friday, November 6. “I served with Josiah Taylor, Dr. Taylor, and Mr. Jochum. We worked on our neighbor’s property, raking and cutting down branches that they wanted removed,” said Briana, a DCHS sophomore. “We know how much Mrs. Palmer, our neighbor, would love to keep on top of yard work, but she is unable to due to a knee injury.”

Briana Taylor (right) with her brother, Josiah, and DCHS science teacher, Mr. John Jochum raking leaves on Delmarva Christian High School’s Return to the Community Day on Friday, November 6. “I served with Josiah Taylor, Dr. Taylor, and Mr. Jochum. We worked on our neighbor’s property, raking and cutting down branches that they wanted removed,” said Briana, a DCHS sophomore. “We know how much Mrs. Palmer, our neighbor, would love to keep on top of yard work, but she is unable to due to a knee injury.”

While most students found service projects that primarily involved yard or housekeeping work, some discovered out-of-the-box ways to serve.

“We played the piano and sang songs at the Atlantic Shores Rehabilitation and Health Center in Millsboro,” said Savannah Mills, a sophomore at DCHS. “We sang hymns and modern worship songs to the residents. I saw firsthand how much these simple songs meant to these residents. This made me feel so blessed to have brought joy to these people simply by worshipping the Lord with them.”

“My service to the community involved shopping, purchasing, loading, delivering, and unloading food for the backpack ministry of Sonrise Church in Berlin, Maryland,” said Jordan DiFava, a freshman at DCHS. “This ministry provides backpacks filled with snacks, drinks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner items for hungry kids to take home from school on Friday afternoons so that they have food to eat over the weekend when they are home. This service reminds me how blessed I am and how easily I can take all the good things I have for granted.”

“My service to the community involved shopping, purchasing, loading, delivering, and unloading food for the backpack ministry of Sonrise Church in Berlin, Maryland,” said Jordan DiFava, a freshman at DCHS. “This ministry provides backpacks filled with snacks, drinks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner items for hungry kids to take home from school on Friday afternoons so that they have food to eat over the weekend when they are home. This service reminds me how blessed I am and how easily I can take all the good things I have for granted.”

Oftentimes, the students are as encouraged as the people they serve.

“My group cleaned up trash at Broadkill Beach, and it was nice to know that just three people could impact a whole community,” said Caitlyn Milliken, a part-time DCHS student. “It was amazing to think that everyone in the school was doing something. Just by having one day of community service, we helped the whole county—and possibly more.”

Reichelt_Logan

Logan Reichelt, a freshman at DCHS, volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Return to the Community Day on Friday, November 6. “The store sells used items, and all of the money goes to funding Habitat for Humanity build projects,” said Reichelt. “As a volunteer, I cleaned up their inventory and helped put together Christmas packets. Volunteering gave me a good feeling that I was helping people in need of homes.”

In all, the day is about more than just physical labor—it’s about establishing a connection.

“I helped a family friend paint her door that she was unable to do herself,” said Matthew Garbrick, a junior at DCHS. “In the process of doing this job, I witnessed how much I brought up Mrs. Melissa’s day just by simply talking to her. She was extremely excited when I showed up, and she watched me like a hawk the whole time. She said that I kept her company and brightened her day just by showing up, let alone helping her with the project.”

“I went to Epworth Christian School and helped with the first-grade teacher,” said Alexis Holston, a DCHS senior. “I helped separate projects and pack and move boxes. I love going back to Epworth and help teachers that I was had because I love helping teachers with work that that they have.”

“I went to Epworth Christian School and helped with the first-grade teacher,” said Alexis Holston, a DCHS senior. “I helped separate projects and pack and move boxes. I love going back to Epworth and help teachers that I was had because I love helping teachers with work that that they have.”

Delmarva Christian High School students are required to complete 100 community service hours by the time they graduate—25 hours each year. Though participating in events like “Return to the Community Day” go towards the students’ mandatory hours, these organized service days are to ignite a heart of lifelong service.

“We continue this message of service throughout the year—in the classroom, through the Word in Chapel, and just by being in a Christian environment,” said Bennett. “We hope that these service days spark a fire of service and missions into our students.”