WMC students spent the rest of the day doing things together in a purposeful way. Middle school students went to Treetop Adventure Park in Grand Rapids to have fun with a purpose to challenge themselves and high school students served on the Norton Shores campus.
In the past, all WMC high school students have gone out into the community to serve on the first day of school. This year, the format was changed to have partner organizations come to the campus. Freshmen and sophomores rotated through different service opportunities that included Christian Haven Home, Kids’ Food Basket, The Noah Project and clean-up work done on the campus.
Muskegon Oceana Community Partnership Inc. client services/outreach specialist Lakisha Churchwell was at WMC while students made laundry detergent, which will be distributed from the MOCAP pantry.
“MOCAP provides assistance to low-income families with day-to-day needs including bills, food and laundry detergent like what was prepared by WMC students today,” Churchwell said Tuesday. “We appreciate student volunteers helping in our food program because it gives them a chance to step into the shoes of people that are not as fortunate as them and understand what it means to have to come to a pantry or a food truck to get what you need.”
WMC students helped prepare supper packs for the Kids’ Food Basket, with WMC families donating 489 pounds of food and decorating 500 bags.
Marianne Stuparits, life enrichment coordinator for Christian Haven Home in Grand Haven, said she always appreciates being able to share their program with students. She said it helps them understand and experience the aging process.
“WMC students serve at Christian Haven Home throughout the year,” Stuparits said, “and this will help them to work with our residents in a more dynamic way.”
On Tuesday, the students had their fingers taped to experience what it may feel like to write with arthritis. They also walked on popcorn to replicate corns, bunions or aches from losing fatty tissue in the feet; wore glasses with cloudy yellow tape to simulate cataracts and poor vision; and ate mints with their nose plugged to understand the loss of taste.
The students also made cat toys for The Noah Project in Muskegon.
AP biology teacher Summer Lile, who helped coordinate the activities, was excited for the new opportunities to serve.
“I think this is great because it gives our students and staff (a chance) to connect with our local partners and serve not only today, but for the rest of the year,” she said.
Junior and senior students went on-site to help the Americorp Urban Safety Corps clean lots in Muskegon Heights. Other junior and senior students went to the former Nims School building to help Community enCompass clear it out and prepare for refurbishing.
Noah Hanes, who works at Community enCompass and graduated from WMC in 2013, supervised the students and staff who helped at Nims.
“We appreciate the great work by WMC students and staff today pulling nails out of trim and moving materials out so they can be repurposed for this project and other projects we are working on,” he said. “Students and staff are also helping us clean it and prepare it so AvaSure can have a new place to build and grow their patient monitoring and telemedicine company in Muskegon.”
As Assistant Principal Scott Liggett reflected on the first day of school, he said it was a “transformational day.”
“We have partnered with some local organizations along the Lakeshore communities that we serve in order to live out part of our mission to equip students to work and serve Christ in their communities,” he said.