For those who don’t have the opportunity to work directly with teenagers it might be hard to understand where they are coming from. They might seem a little odd to most adults, as they have their particular set of interests and ideas about the world. Most of them might seem silly, or rude, or awkward to many outside of their culture but after 9 years of teaching and 3 years of youth ministry this seemingly different group never ceases to surprise me. Maybe they are hard to understand as we (adults) see them but at every turn there are some that are every bit as excited about making a difference in the world, bringing dignity to their fellow humans, and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves, as we think that we (adults) are. Putting feet to their desire to serve their community set in motion the establishment of BHS Cobblestone Project. After sharing with some students the driving force and mission of Cobblestone Project and mentioning to them that there might be a chance for a club to form and then work with local NPOs they didn’t hesitate. To borrow language from Cobblestone project and having adapted it to fit BHS Cobblestone Project our mission statement is as follows: Our purpose is drawn from the belief that every person has a unique and immeasurable value because of our shared human story. It is this story that is defined by a movement towards the renewal and restoration of the image that all people were created for a purpose. Every human heart deserves dignity, respect and the opportunity to fully realize this purpose.
The strategy to take these ideas and turn them into action will be approached by 1) Identifying Issues of Justice & Mercy, 2) Connecting Needs with Willing Resources and 3) Fulfilling Needs with Sustainable Solutions.
Among other things we will be doing an annual coat/shoe drive, participating in regular initiatives from Cobblestone Project as well as conducting a school wide imitative in the Spring called “30 days for change” (more info coming).
The students are fired up! Every meeting I seem to see new faces and on a weekly basis encounter fellow staff members or parents who are increasingly interested in what we are doing. We have been interviewed in a High School sports talk magazine, broadcasted by our student newscast in the daily morning announcements (reaching approximately 4000 people every morning) and approached by the Executive Director of community relationships and PR for the Bentonville Schools.
It’s been a fast and encouraging journey so far. The “30 days for change” initiative has sparked a lot of interest with students this spring as we have almost 40 participants signed up to work with now 7 local non-profits. I am inspired by the energy, passion and desire in the students at Bentonville High School to improve the local community of NWA. The students in the club come from all types of lifestyles and personal beliefs but see a common goal as more important than self-promoting and are willing to put aside their busy schedules to be a blessing to their community and without question their teacher and club sponsor. I am very thankful to Cobblestone Project and their willingness to partner with Bentonville High school as well as the principal of BHS, Kim Garrett for her continued support of our student body and their desire to be creative and active in their communities and am excited about what the future holds.
- Scott Herron (@scaherron), BHS Teacher