Twenty participants with special needs, 20 mentors, and countless other volunteers spent last week SERVE-ing in Ottawa, Ont., Canada’s capital city. Hosted by Calvin Christian Reformed Church and supported by four Ottawa-area churches and more than 100 volunteers, SERVE participants discovered their inner hero by helping others while learning how Jesus is the ultimate superhero during a fun, action-packed SERVE week.
Participants harvested vegetables from the local food bank farm, cleaned school desks and lockers, and sorted items at Bibles for Missions. They visited and played games with residents at a nursing home and did yard work and other projects at a local mission.
Along with the work, there was time for fun with a visit to Parliament Hill, jumping at Xtreme Trampoline, and a fancy dinner and talent show.
Volunteers also spent time studying God’s Word in small groups and gathered for worship each night after dinner. Each participant received a Superman cape with “Jesus Loves You” signed on it as a memento, and first-time participants received a quilt from Calvin CRC’s quilting group.
“[SERVE] gives families [of participants] respite care and a way that participants can serve their communities,” said Ron Hosmar, Calvin’s pastor of youth and congregational life and SERVE organizer. “Another spin-off of SERVE, and there are many, is that volunteers from our church and other churches talk to each other, getting to know each other in ways they didn't before. That’s worth the effort all on its own.”
This was the eighth special needs SERVE hosted at Calvin CRC since the first one in 2008. The planning team has helped other churches develop a special needs SERVE program as well. The church is taking next year off to evaluate the program but are always willing to help support other churches interested in setting up a program.