One day during a typical ninth-grade Bible class group discussion at the Southview Christian School in Burnsville, Minnesota, the topic of the “image of God” was being discussed which led to students learning about the injustice many families face in areas such as housing, food insecurity, unemployment, healthcare and education disparities. Eventually, the purpose of therapeutic foster care and the children and teens benefitting from the program captured the attention of the ninth graders.
After hearing about the realities of a teen living in the foster care system, having to go from one house to another while carrying their possessions in a plastic garbage bag, one student asked, “What can we do to help them?”
That question ignited a historical movement throughout the school. Posters were created and posted around the building, a school-wide fundraising campaign was launched, and students were mobilized to raise funds that would go toward comfort bags for the children and teens benefiting from Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota’s therapeutic foster care program.
The comfort bags were filled with toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, hair brushes, lotion, deodorant, etc. and a message of encouragement. The ninth graders had a goal set for 20 packed comfort bags.
Within a month, the entire school raised over $2,000! In addition to the comfort bags, 10 family activity buckets were filled with popcorn, candy and a gift card for a home movie night for foster families to build relationships and trust with their children.
It was such a beautiful sight seeing our young people driven with compassion to serve an overlooked population. It was also coincidental that the month of May happened to be National Foster Care Month.
Who would have thought our ninth graders would leave behind a beautiful missional legacy to the Southview Christian School to serve this community? Nevertheless, we thank God for reminding us through the ministry of our students here at Southview Christian School that no one is too young to serve God and His people and our responsibility is to provide them a space to lead and serve.
Darnisha Thomas is associate pastor for children and families at the Southview Church and Children’s Ministries coordinator for the Minnesota Conference.