By Tina Jenkins Bell
BAPA School Liaison
Each year, St. Barnabas School’s entire student body participates in a school day of service to others.
“Service Day is an annual tradition that has spanned the last ten years,” Principal Jonathan Stack said. “It’s been a way of exemplifying St. Barnabas’ root beliefs, including we are the hands of Christ; we belong to each other; we are a community of unique learners, always growing and learning; we see God in all people, and we are called to nurture the mind, body, and spirit.”
Service Day activities engage ten sites which are off campus. This year, students worked with these service partners: The BirthdayProject.org, Chicago Fire Department, Catholic Charities, Universal School (Bridgeview), Pullman National Monument, Belhaven Nursing Home, Smith Village, Burst into Books, Share Your Soles, Friends of the Chicago River, Elim Christian, Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, and the Chicago Creative Reuse Exchange.
The Communications Coordinator said that over 600 students, parents, chaperones, and staff participated in community service activities during the day.
While 3rd through 8th grade students performed community services off site, preschool through 2nd grade students stayed on campus to perform their service projects.
Preschoolers made birthday cards and videos of themselves singing “Happy Birthday” for the Birthday Project, an organization that shares these greetings with homeless shelters throughout the country.
Kindergarteners and 1st graders made cards to console the families of Chicago firefighters who had recently lost their lives.
Second graders created blessing or care bags filled with toiletries and first aid supplies for unsheltered people being helped by Catholic Charities.
The other grades completed service projects in and beyond the Beverly/Morgan Park
“Being the hands of Christ means that students are encouraged to show that they care and want to make the world a better place — picking up garbage when you see it, helping another kid pick up dropped books, or helping the blind cross the street,” Principal Stack said. “It’s an actionable root belief, he added, not just a platitude.”