Giving From The Heart

Posted on May 05, 2016 by Mark Muehl - Christian Leadership

Wyneken Students Learn the Value of Serving OthersWhen kids work together, they begin to change the world. That’s the spirit at Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School, where kids are not only taught to be good students, but also to develop generous hearts through service projects. Wyneken’s projects span the school year, showing students that giving isn’t just a seasonal opportunity, but is part of our call of living like Christ.Birthday Bags for Food BankThis year, fifth grade students donated over $800 worth of toys to Operation Help, a food bank in Decatur through their birthday bag fundraiser. The students raised funds for the toys by selling items at Wyneken’s craft fair. With the help of a Thrivent Action Team grant, students made bath products and ornaments and used their earnings to purchase toys for the food bank. A craft fair vendor gave the students additional toys for the cause. The students assembled the toys into 63 birthday bags for food bank clients and then delivered the bags to Operation Help in Decatur.Project LinusStudents also made 93 children’s blankets to donate to Project Linus, which provides homemade blankets to children in need. These blankets were donated to hospitals, shelters and other agencies for children going through illnesses or trauma. “It’s a big project of creating 93 blankets in a day,” teacher Pam Brewer explained. She heard about the project from her daughter in Wisconsin and discovered Project Linus had a chapter in Fort Wayne. She thought it would be a great way for students to give back to other children in need.
Jump Rope for HeartFor students at Wyneken, jumping rope is not only a fun activity, it’s a way to raise money for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart event. Students rotated through six activity stations for the fundraiser. Teacher Julie Smith said, “We believed that this was a great way to serve the Lord in our community." Jump Rope for Heart empowers students to learn about their own health while helping others with heart-health issues.Lutheran Hospital Easter BasketsBefore Easter, Wyneken’s seventh and first graders partnered together making 36 Easter baskets for children at Lutheran Hospital. A Thrivent Action Team grant provided the seed money for the project, which benefited children who were hospitalized this spring. Students filled the baskets with gifts, as well as Easter Arch books explaining the true reason to celebrate Easter. This project was a way for students to share their love of Jesus during the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.Kids Against HungerThis spring, students from area Lutheran Schools packed meals for hungry children that were distributed locally and in Haiti through Kids Against Hunger, a humanitarian food-aid organization. Kids Against Hunger works towards reducing the number of hungry children in the U.S. and feeds starving children throughout the world. Students packed approximately 60,000 meals for hungry children, with 75% of the meals distributed locally and 25% of the meals shipped to Haiti. Eight area Lutheran schools participated in the event held at Wyneken.
Angelman Syndrome AwarenessBeginning the fourth quarter, Wyneken students collected chapel offerings for Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing developmental delay and neurological problems. Eileen Braun, sister to 5th grade teacher Pam Brewer, is the national director for the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, a non-profit organization whose objectives are funding research for a cure and raising awareness for the disease, which has affected Eileen’s daughter, Kaitlin. Eileen visited Wyneken and gave a bold testimony to the sanctity and value of human life.Besides these 6 projects, Wyneken has helped Lutheran Disaster Relief, Operation Barnabus, Lutheran Social Services, Animal Care and Control and Lutheran Life Villages during the 2015-16 school year.Principal Andrew Gavrun hopes the lessons learned from these service projects make a difference in students’ lives. He adds, “It is my hope that by providing service opportunities like these, our students learn to serve Jesus Christ as faithful stewards with the gifts and talents our Lord and Creator has entrusted to each of them.”