H.O.P.E. Helping Other People Everywhere
A bunch of excited Upper Columbia Academy students board the bus at the flag pole on the morning of Sept. 8 to travel to their respective service projects. Classes were not held that day so the students would have plenty of time to serve the community. This was all a part of HOPE Taskforce, a project that has been going on at UCA for years. HOPE stands for Helping Other People Everywhere. At least once a quarter, students sign up to do various service projects for people on campus, off campus and in the surrounding community. Some students make cookies, some feed the homeless, some knit hats for kids in Russia, some clean up the UCA Church grounds, some visit community centers and some stay on campus to give the hardworking janitors a break. Students also help out with other community service projects, such as Habitat for Humanity, ARC, St. Anne’s and the Ronald McDonald House.
One of the many service opportunities that the students were offered was helping out at ARC. ARC is a community center for mentally disabled people to visit, play games, do crafts and have a good time. UCA students come for a few hours to bake cookies and help the ARC’s visitors make different crafts. Some of them painted their fingernails, others made puppets and still others melted bead crafts.
As the students hung out with the people at ARC, they got to learn things about each individual person. They saw glimpses into their lives and learned how God has worked to bring them joy. The students also learned how to be accepting of others as well as content and grateful for what they have.
The people there are so happy — always smiling. They get very excited when they learn that the students are coming. For the students and the people at ARC these hours are a very precious and special time.
HOPE Taskforce may be a break from classes and a chance to get off campus, but it’s more than that. HOPE means thinking of others and making a difference in their lives. The students come back on fire for God and looking forward to the next HOPE day.