Monday, January 28, 2013

"Love Reminders" community outreach project

Last Sunday I had the great privilege of assisting with the StoneBridge Children's Ministry's Community Outreach project for February. Called "Love Reminders," the craft was designed by Michelle Chestnutt (one of my favorite people, y'all!). 

Take some basic office supplies, add some carefully chosen uplifting text (bible passages or favorite quotes), then give children free rein to decorate as their heart desires and you end up with day-brightening packets to distribute amongst friends and acquaintances.

"Love Reminders" community outreach project
Michelle and Jennifer Dew have been volunteering as the StoneBridge Church Children's Ministry's Community Outreach project coordinators for the past two years. They lead outreach projects 3 times a year for various groups---retirement home residents, StoneBridge missionaries, the U.S. troops abroad, and local emergency personnel. Together they come up with a project's focus, the accompanying lesson and a craft; Penny Harrison (StoneBridge's AWESOME and dedicated Children's Pastor) gives them her blessing and guidance, and lovingly allows them "free reign" to teach the lovely young hearts who visit the StoneBridge Children's Ministry.

For this particular project (centered around Valentine’s Day), Michelle and Jennifer wanted to remind retirement home/assisted living residents that they are loved and are not alone. They chose the verse 1 John 4:11 to teach the children "we are to love God and love others." And that when we help others, we not only show God’s love, we serve God. They  wanted to do a daily devotional of sorts, and chose verses and sayings to serve as the daily “love reminders.”   

When designing projects for the StoneBridge Children's Ministry, a challenge is not only the time limit, but the age difference and sheer quantity of children. So they generally choose small scale projects, but with the hope that the impact on both the recipients AND the children is big. This project definitely more than lived up to those objectives! (Honestly, I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this project!)


In preparation for the craft, we created stacks of the following supplies: 
  • Blank book marks
  • Open ended envelopes (Michelle found these and the book marks at a SchoolBox store; I couldn't find them online)
  • Ribbon cut into 9" lengths
  • Index cards (stacks of 10)
  • Uplifting text (stacks of 10 different passages)
  • Glue sticks
At craft time, the kids lined up and two parent volunteers handed out the required supplies to each child. Then stickers and buckets of markers were distributed amongst the children and everyone set to work. In an hour and a half, the StoneBridge team was able to welcome the children, explain how to create the project, teach a lesson, make the project, clean up, present a followup to reinforce the lesson, and still had some playtime at the end! It was a truly admirable and effective effort!

My heartfelt thanks to Michelle Chestnutt for supplying content for this write-up! Here is the lovely lady herself giving direction to the kids as they work on their Love Reminders project.

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