Young Good Samaritans

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — There are still Good Samaritans in this community, and many of them are yet learning. There are those who see a need and have a heart to serve people. Mt. Zion Christian Academy (MZCA) students are taught the lesson of it being more blessed to give than to receive.

By now, most people in the country are aware of the catastrophic disaster in the Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian, regarded as the worst natural disaster in the country’s history, struck the island nation.

Most structures were flattened or swept off into the sea, and at least 70,000 people were left homeless. Thousands of homes were reported destroyed, and at least 58 deaths recorded.

The exact death toll is unknown, but news sources in the Bahamas suggested that it will likely be significantly higher.

Helping others is a daily task and lesson taught at MZCA. Picking up a book for someone, helping someone tie a shoe, cheering for another student who has done well are all small ways that the students learn to be caring and responsible adults.

After hearing Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, the students wanted to reach beyond the classroom. They wanted to get involved.

The students launched a relief help drive collecting care packages to send to the devasted families in the Bahamas. The teachers, students and their parents donated washcloths, soap, hand sanitizers, undergarments, toothbrushes, toothpaste and several other personal items.

“Even if a student could not donate, he or she could still make a difference through preparation and well wishes,” said Franca Sheehy, principal at MZCA. “What good is it if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Faith, by itself is not enough. If it is not accompanied by action, it is dead.”

Each student prepared their care package in a pencil box with a personal note to the recipient to let them know that they have not been forgotten. The packages were taken to a Bahama relief drop-off at Bob’s Carpet and Flooring to be shipped to the Bahamas.

The students felt empowered by their actions; however, they maintained a sense of humility, seeming to realize that it could have happened to them.

They were pleased by being able to touch the lives of children in another part of the world in a helpful and positive way.

Students helping other students is a way to teach that giving without wanting anything in return can be powerful and rewarding.

Taking heed to the stories they learn in school — lessons from the Good Samaritan and having a caring heart and desire to make a difference — will push students at MZCA to be the leaders that every community needs. Through their actions, they were keeping their faith and feeling blessed.

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