Individuals with special needs deserve the chance to serve, said Ron Hosmar, youth pastor of Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Ottawa, Ontario.
That was the idea behind an innovative SERVE project the church organized this summer. SERVE is an opportunity for Christian Reformed teens to travel to various locations to spend a week doing service projects.
Calvin CRC already reaches out to individuals with special needs through its Friendship group, but the congregation wanted to do more.
“Often [people with special needs] are the forgotten ones who are served,” Hosmar said. “We wanted them to have a week where they could do the serving.”
In July, 11 individuals with special needs were matched with 13 youth mentors to take on service projects throughout the Ottawa region. Team members came from Ontario, Michigan, and Manitoba.
Hosmar said the week taught participants that while everyone has needs, everyone has gifts and everyone can serve.
“Each one may have some sort of special need, but as we went through the week and shared stories together, we found that each one had at least one unique gift that they brought to the group,” he said.
“God has given each participant something special in their lives with which they could bless others.”