Chris Green paints base boards at a nearby school.
Nearly 300 PAA students, staff, parents and area pastors joined together for PAA’s annual Service Day, “Inside Out.”
Divided into 24 groups, PAA volunteers served the greater Portland area in many ways. From caring for families living in poverty, sharing toiletry kits with homeless communities, painting schools, sorting food at food banks, and delivering cookies with bible verses to neighborhood homes, each project offered our students a chance to connect with our community and exercise the compassion PAA teachers seek to inspire.
Hard work and unexpected challenges didn’t dampen spirits. “Our bus broke down on the way home which left us along Hwy 26 for 3 hours,” says Linda Johnson, a PAA staff leader. “But our students began to walk along the highway picking up trash during our delay and never complained! It was a long day but very rewarding.” The homeless outreach inspired future projects. “A couple of the students started planning their CAP around the organization we went to,” said staff leader Savannah Maxwell. “Their awareness of the homeless situation in our city grew and you could tell that it impacted them significantly. On the drive back to PAA, they were very perceptive of the tents we drove by and the barriers/spikes under overpasses to prevent homeless from setting up camp there. There was a lot of good conversation and reflection.”
Students left positive impressions in our community. “Lee Dayfield, the founder of the Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project where we were working, loved our kids. She said she wanted to use their work as an example for the other groups coming in,” said Jason Bibb, a staff leader.
Marrying education and service gave students a real-life look into potential careers in Social Work, Family Counseling, and Psychiatry. “It became real,” said AP Psychology student Grace Koolhoven. “Instead of just reading and studying about mental illness, we were there in the situation.” (You can read more about this service project in July’s Education issue of the Gleaner magazine.)
Inside Out Service Day is one of many BeyondPAA events that support PAA’s guiding Christ-centered, character-driven values: excellence, belief, courage, leadership, integrity, curiosity, and concern. Learn more about BeyondPAA here.