From July 21-26, participants from across the Virginia Synod attended the Junior High Servant Event – our Synod’s week-long servant experience for rising 7th – 9th graders. This annual event has been hosted in Virginia Beach by congregations of the Tidewater Conference for a decade. Participants of the Junior High Servant Event have the opportunity to worship and serve directly with organizations that work to aid those who have been impacted by homelessness, poverty, and hunger, as well as to learn about some of the root causes of these issues.
The goal of the Junior High Servant Event is to support youth to grow in awareness, compassion, and in their motivation to return home and be a part of God’s work in their own communities. From the service the youth provided over the last week, they’re sure to have brought with them stories and unique experiences that will continue to make a difference in their home communities.
During this year’s Junior High Servant Event, the youth got the chance to participate in a wide variety of activities supporting local organizations that are working to assist those in need from homeless individuals to immigrants arriving in Virginia Beach. During the week the youth took part in a “Compassion Walk” where they traveled the long, hot route that many of the homeless in our community must walk each day to access food and basic services. They also had the opportunity to provide aid to those newly immigrated to the area, by making food, assembling health packs, and learning about the process of immigration and asylum from an immigration lawyer.
Reaching out to community organizations, participants this year volunteered at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, ForKids, People In Need Ministry (PIN) and more. Of course, the group got to have some downtime for fun cooling off at the water’s edge as well!