Service underpins our values at Cascade Academy. While our students are with us, they have the opportunity to provide service to their friends, peers and the local community. This service-oriented mentality leads our students to develop behavior that extends beyond scheduled projects. The more we practice serving others, the more natural it becomes to identify potential opportunities. This year we grew a plentiful garden! This abundance was more than we needed. Our students took this opportunity to locate a local food bank where we could donate our abundance of vegetables. I am always impressed with the compassion and care our students have for those around them. As they work individually through personal struggles and challenges they are better equipped to engage in this work despite the anxiety that might be present.
Recently, our students made hand-made blankets to be donated to an animal shelter. These animals come from all over the country while waiting for placement. Students were able to drop off items and meet the employees and animals. The owner gave us a gratitude shoutout on social media! It is in these relationships formed and bonds created that healing takes place.
As we enter a season of giving, I am reminded that we have a duty as global citizens to bless the lives of those around us. A concept that has always resonated with me is the “pay it forward” mentality. The general concept is that one person helps three people, and those three people each helped three more, the kindness felt, and service rendered would be felt dramatically on a massive scale. I strongly believe that service is like a giant circle that when we give it willingly to others it will always make its way back to us in one form or another. I’ve found that one of the most effective forms of self-discovery is when engaged in the service of others.
If you find yourself discouraged, melancholy or lacking in positive energy this holiday season, consider the following quote: “When you find yourself in need of spiritual nourishment, it is in the opportunities to serve others that you will find the abundance you seek.”