Buena Vista Elementary Likes to Give

August 18, 2016 | Gina Hubin

During their recent history tour to Seattle, Wash., Buena Vista Elementary School eighth-graders had an opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Inspired by the book I Like Giving, Washington Conference leaders gave Buena Vista some money and challenged students to find a way to bless others with it.

While planning their class trip and knowing about the dire homeless problem in Seattle, the students combined the donated money with funds they had raised for their class trip — enough to purchase eighteen $10 McDonald’s gift cards.

Most of the people who were given the gift cards responded positively with “thank you” or “God bless you.” Unfortunately a few expressed wanting money instead or wishing the kids had more to give them. “Seeing how the people accepted our gifts made me think about how I should be when I receive gifts from others. I always need to being grateful and express my gratitude,” says Kennedy Aiolupotea.

The students themselves experienced a variety of emotions by being a part of this experience: “The gratitude that was expressed by the man I gave to made me feel so happy I wish I had more for him,” says Adrianna Barahona.

Lauren Rester recalls, “Near the waterfront I saw a man digging in a trash can, so I gave him one of the gift cards. He was so touched he almost starting crying, and he said ‘God bless you.’ That made the whole experience so meaningful.”

For Ezekiel Lemma, the experiences made him want to do even more to help others who are in need.

While the kids witnessed many different kinds of people — some kind and grateful, a few rude and ungrateful — all the students agreed how they were blessed and how it still felt good doing something nice for another person, even if their response wasn’t exactly how the students thought it should be. Easing one another’s burdens, even if through a small, thoughtful act, can still make a positive impact.