KIRKLAND – Seventh-graders at Holy Family School will start summer vacation knowing that they have helped kids in need, simply by holding a bake sale.
The 26-member class raised more than $1,000, money used to purchase graphing calculators, computer flash drives and school books for students enrolled in the Youth Tutoring Program operated by Catholic Community Services of Western Washington.
“I feel amazing, helpful and, most importantly, I feel like I am carrying on God’s mission,” said seventh-grader Grace Foley. “To help kids with their education feels great. I am so glad to be a part of it.”
The May bake sale was part of the students’ yearlong participation in the Missionary Discipleship Institute. The three-phase faith and outreach program for seventh-graders is a partnership of the archdiocesan offices for missions and Catholic schools, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, and the Poverty Education Center at Seattle University.
The goal is helping students understand the call to love your neighbor. “In an increasingly globalized world, our neighbor is not just the one who lives next door to us,” said Anna Clarke, team leader of U.S. mission education for Maryknoll’s Western Region.
During the year, students proceeded through the program’s encounter, disturbance and response phases. The encounter phase focuses on awareness of where social injustice is happening, explained Holy Family religion teacher Tracey Yackley. “We see something and it disturbs us,” she said. “The response is, ‘What are we going to do about it?’”
After discussing things like the environment, education and gender equality, the students decided to focus on education. “We chose the youth tutoring program because these kids are in our backyard,” said student Claire Fitzgerald. “They need extra help, just like we need extra help sometimes.”
With the help of their teachers, students planned and put on the bake sale, raising a good chunk of cash and donating the leftover goodies to a shelter. Part of the event was helping younger students understand that the money collected would help children like them, said seventh-grader Natalie Becker.
Classmate Nathan Sakaguchi said he felt good about helping other students have a better education. “It also makes me feel like I am living out the Catholic life more completely,” he added.
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