Seventh Grade Service Learning

Shannon Hieger
Middle School Humanities and Religion/7th Grade Homeroom

Seventh Grade Religion
Image 3The seventh graders are truly living out the Catholic Social Teachings of “Option for the Poor and Vulnerable” and “Life and Dignity of Human Person.” Each month, with the help of dedicated parent volunteers led by Lissa Baier and Natalie Trius, they prepare, deliver, and serve 150 lunches to Angeline’s Day Center for homeless women in Belltown, a division of the YWCA.

Students learned about homelessness this fall, and in particular the stereotypesImage 1 associated with it. They explored some root causes and the danger, uncertainty, and indignity of living on the streets. By serving the lunches students develop a sense of respect for the dignity of all, and a sense of responsibility towards their larger community.

Here’s what some of their post-visit reflections say:

“I was happy to help people in need and people who have had more than their fair share of bad luck and misfortune. Some people don’t really care about homelessness because it doesn’t affect them. We are called by our faith to help the needy and I am super grateful for the opportunity.” Mason B.

“This service project is a good way to learn about the world in a new way. It has opened my eyes and made me realize what is happening in the world around us.” Aidan A.

“Everyone welcomed us and gave us important tips like, ‘stay in school,’ and, ‘listen to your parents.’ It taught Image 2me that homeless people are normal and no one deserves to be alone. My goals are to inform people about the rising homeless problem in Seattle, and to give dignity and respect to them all.” Nina P.

The maturation and growth that comes along with this experience is evident in every seventh grader. From a greater understanding of the hardships some face, to a significantly increased appreciation for what they have been given, all come away from it a little wiser. This broadens their perspective of the world, and empowers them for the possibilities of the roles and effects they may have in it.