Last week, SCCS junior high and high school students served at eight different ministries throughout Los Angeles during the two-day event, iServe. Unique to SCCS, iServe is a core experience for SCCS students and faculty alike as they spend two full days serving the community alongside each other.
“iServe brings our students into communion with Christ on a much deeper level than we often are during our regular daily routines,” shared Elijah Veluzat, Physical Education teacher. “In the book of Matthew, Jesus identifies himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned and says that when we serve the least of these people, we are serving Jesus himself. That is what we did! In giving ourselves fully to those in need, we were able to give ourselves fully to Christ. And in doing so, I got to witness the blessing of many, both those whom we served, as well as we who were doing the serving.”
Students served alongside a variety of organizations including: Children’s Hunger Fund’s Poverty Encounter and Operation Gratitude (7th grade), The Los Angeles Dream Center (8th grade), Union Rescue Mission (9th grade), Special Olympics (10th grade), Hollywood Impact Studios (11th grade) and serving the homeless and the college community in Santa Barbara (12th grade).
“These kids amazed me and gave me faith in this next generation. All of them worked very hard,” shared Gary Hall, Hollywood Impact Studios. “None of the labor was very glamorous. It consisted of shoveling, raking, sweeping and loading all that debris into trash cans and trash bags. These kids were able to have fun and work hard. All of them were so respectful to their teachers (who worked alongside them), our Hollywood Impact Studios team and each other. We all prayed at the beginning of the workday, over our mid-day meal and at the end of the day. On Thursday, it rained and even some snow flurries, but I didn’t hear a single complaint. These were all good kids of faith. We thank Santa Clarita Christian for their iServe program.”
While 11th grade students served at the Hollywood Impact Studios property, they learned more about the organization’s mission to bring new hope and a brighter future to those who have been dealt a tough hand in life. Hollywood Impact Studios use the art of television and film making to change lives and provide training ground where Hollywood professionals mentor these individuals to develop God-given talents and passions to choose a new path for their lives.
“We cleaned gutters, branches and cleared out a centerpiece garden. The place looked completely different when we were done,” explained Ryan Gray, SCCS 11th grade student. “I really enjoyed meeting Gary Hall and to hear about his experience in the film industry and learn about his ministry as I want to go into film as well. We need to give back to the community and honor what God says about serving others.”
“I liked learning about Hollywood Impact Studios’ mission,” shared Everette Webber, 11th grade student. “It is important to help communities and organizations in our local area and it gets us in the mindset that we can and should help others in our community.”
Eighth grade students partnered with the Los Angeles Dream Center and participated in many opportunities to serve.
“During their Kids Jam, an after-school free daycare for families, we played games with kids and sang a song about three things you need to know – ‘I am a sinner, Jesus died for me, I need to accept Jesus; kids got a ticket for knowing it and won prizes. The kids seemed to really be excited to have us there,” said Syndey Jackson, 8th grade student. “During the second day, I got to go with a group to the home of a single mother who was in danger of having her children removed from her home. We spent time putting together beds and dressers for them, which allowed her to keep her kids. It was special to see the immediate impact we were able to make on real people.”
Eighth grade students got to experience various serving opportunities through the Los Angeles Dream Center such as delivering food to homeless people, praying with others, cleaning up trash through Adopt-a-Block, cleaning toys at The Temple in Los Angeles, sorting donated clothes and more.
“At MacArthur Park, we went up to a guy laying down and invited him to church. He was excited to go. We told him where it was and prayed for him. He didn’t speak English, but it is all the same language to God. He was so thankful for the food we gave him. He thought he needed to do something in return. When we told him it was free, it was shocking to me that he was so surprised,” shared Sawyer Segulyev, 8th grade student. “I think because we take food, housing and clothes for granted, it is easy to forget that many people don’t have those things. It is good for us to see that and be reminded to be more selfless towards others. We are the hands and feet of God. He calls us to go out and spread His word and show the love of Christ. We can constantly be spreading the love of God and showing how Christians are supposed to live.”
This year’s theme, I Peter 4:10 encouraged students to use whatever gifts they have been given by God to serve others. Why is iServe so important? As Summer Bhola, 11th grade student said, “Jesus served us. When we humble ourselves and serve others, we are being like Him.”