Thursday, students wrapped up their work at Breakthrough and By the Hand, fulfilling all they set out to accomplish months ago when they committed to Chicago19!
Thursday is the last day of programming for By the Hand for the week, so they celebrate with a crazy day full of games, inflatables, and hot dogs! Our students supervised the different activities and spent time hanging out with kids from their classrooms that they’ve gotten to know throughout the week. The good-byes were pretty rough as the kids had developed some really incredible relationships with our team. Before our departure, By the Hand staff met with us to say thanks and talked to our group about how unique our students are because they didn’t need to continually manage us since our team jumped right in and really engaged. There was a lot of shared appreciation and respect between our Parkview team and the By the Hand staff. My hope is we continue to engage with their work in years to come!
It was a hot day as you might imagine, so we treated the team to a showing of Toy Story 4 in between By the Hand and Breakthrough. The completely unofficial movie rankings: Toy Story 1, Toy Story 4, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3… don’t bother going to Rotten Tomatoes – we have your full movie reviews here 🙂
For our final work of the trip, we closed the even back at Breakthrough where half our team who was watching a film Tuesday was not serving today and vice-versa. The meal was Flank steak with salad and roasted potatoes. Once again, Neil Jenkins led our team well in meal prep. We divided up between cutting, prepping the meat, cooking, serving, and eating with the residents. For teenagers who have not cooked much or at all, it was pretty impressive how they managed to get everything prepared in 2 hours. No fingers were harmed in the preparation process, which is an added bonus.
Friday we’ll go to a Cubs game to celebrate the week and be together one last time.
One a personal note – I am so proud of our students. This trip represented something we’ve never done before with Middle School. Our goal was to come in and help these two incredible not for profits, but more importantly, the larger goal was for us to learn and stretch ourselves. Part of our broader Parkview philosophy as we serve is to help our people realize that we have shared humanity with everyone regardless of backgrounds, the family of origin, race, or socioeconomic status. That means we have something to learn from them. I believe our students were stretched and challenged both in what they knew about how to help people and about how they can more effectively be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world.
One student said it best when asked about what he learned, “I learned its the little things. Just, getting to know people. It’s all about relationships.”
Not a bad lesson to learn.
Because Jesus Loves Students,
Middle School Pastor
P.S. Special thanks to Chris Leone, Justin Hueston, and Sandra Allen, who did so much to make this trip happen. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to the Lord and our students’ growth!