Columbia Adventist Academy Pursues Full-Time Philanthropy

January 15, 2014 | Larry Hiday

One of Webster’s definitions of philanthropy is “the desire to promote the welfare of others.” And that makes the activities of this past fall at Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) in Battle Ground, Wash., a full-time philanthropic endeavor.

One focus of the CAA's mission statement is that “at Columbia, students, staff and community work together to help each individual become an active, caring servant leader.” To that end, CAA has planned several outreach activities with the intent of promoting the welfare of others.

Time and energy were contributed early in the school year as CAA had an all-school community service day with students helping others from Yacolt, Wash., through Vancouver, Wash., and down to Oregon City, Ore. This was followed by the seniors working at the Clark County Food Bank and the juniors taking a day away from classes to help the Adventist Community Services Center.

Music groups are also responding philanthropically as they annually share songs of Christmas and the holidays at two locations for customers at Chuck’s Produce, local food markets, and Follow the Star in Gladstone, Ore. More time and energy was gifted as first- and second-graders from neighboring Meadow Glade Adventist Elementary School worked with academy students to decorate cookies, sing songs and listen to stories.

CAA students are learning and practicing the use of their own monetary resources, in addition to time and energy, to help others. Examples were seen during a sock drive initiated after a chapel talk by Marshall Snyder from Bridgetown Ministries in Portland, Ore. More than 390 pair were donated to help the homeless. And had you walked through the CAA halls this past holiday season you would have also seen boxes — some filled with toys, others overflowing with food for holiday food baskets to give to families in need.

CAA’s administration has modeled the philanthropic use of resources, as well as thanking their supportive community by sponsoring Bravo! Vancouver’s free performance of Handel’s Messiah. The enjoyment of the evening was made even greater as Steve Hokett, a local dentist and parent of a CAA junior, conducted the "Hallelujah Chorus."

With all that has happened with philanthropy as a goal, it was best observed culminating in the Celebration of Harmonious Holidays dinner, during which students, staff and community members combined forces to raise more than $100,000 for the worthy student fund. Students gave the devotional, performed music, served guests and contributed financially. Faculty and staff members worked together as a team to pull the pieces together and added to the dollar count. Community members invited guests, decorated the tables, gave the keynote address and made the big push to see that the evening was fun and successful.

Mackenzie Wood, a senior and devotional speaker, said it best: “God takes the gifts people give and stretches them into ways they are needed. Thank you for investing in me and my classmates. Thank you for making an investment with great returns that will last throughout eternity.”

Matthew says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” May we all live philanthropically from the heart.