An Oregon church added a unique spin to their vacation Bible school (VBS) curriculum this year. The older students participated in a service project for a local women’s shelter.
“We’ve found that our 5th- and 6th-graders are outgrowing VBS,” said Amy Toornstra, VBS mission coordinator for Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Ore. “They want to get out there and do things. They want to be on the front lines.”
Ashley Tremain helped clean the playground at Simonka Place.
So Toornstra organized a field trip to Simonka Place, a shelter for women and children in Keizer, Ore. The kids toured the facilities, then spent an afternoon cleaning the dining hall and playground.
The trip was a learning experience for the students. Ashley Tremain, 10, said, “I thought it was jail, but it wasn’t. It was really nice and peaceful. I felt bad for the people who did not have much. I wanted to help them.”
On the final day the students gave the shelter $150 they had raised, along with games that they had purchased for the day room. They also brought in a lot of toilet paper.
“We asked the shelter, ‘What are you most in need of?’” said Toornstra. “They needed toilet paper.”
All through the week, VBS participants brought in money or rolls of toilet paper. In all, they collected 831 rolls for the shelter.
Toornstra plans make service projects a part of future VBS programs. “This service project brought so much meaning to our VBS and is something I would like to continue.” she said.