(Kristina Stone has just completed a year of service through her participation in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps and its partnership with For Love of Children. In her role as a High School Program Instructor, she was able to have an amazing impact in helping teach, empower and transform futures with our youth.)
Service is a huge part of my life. This year I wanted to share my passion for service with my students and create opportunities for them to get involved and give back to their community. Throughout my job this year I organized community service trips for students to participate in. One memorable experience was when I took a group to volunteer with Casey Trees. We ventured across town and arrived on a warm October morning to plant trees by the North Capitol Metro Station in Washington, D.C. The students jumped right in, getting dirty, digging holes in the ground, pulling rocks from the soil and preparing the area for trees to be planted. Our Casey Trees leaders taught the group about taking care of the trees and how our preparation would allow the plants to flourish and grow in the years to come. As we heaved the trees across the grass and rolled them into their new homes the students faces lit up with excitement. For all of the students, this was their first time planting trees, an opportunity I was allowed to give them. Calvin, a sophomore, was impacted by his service experience. He told the group how years from now, when the trees have grown bigger than him, he can bring his children to this spot and tell them story of how he gave them life.
For me, this is what my year has been about. Providing opportunities for my students they otherwise may have not have experienced. It was about creating relationships and giving support to those who needed a listening ear and words of encouragement. And the relationship was two-fold. As I reflect back on my year, it is the students like Calvin, Lewsha, River and Malik, who have created an opportunity for me, an opportunity I otherwise may have not have experienced.
High School Program Instructor
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”