Students at Rimbey Christian School have experienced first-hand the joys of giving as the Christmas season approaches.
Teacher Matthew Picco said that he had first heard about a worthy cause on the Christian radio station Shine FM.
A group was raising funds for kids who had been impacted by a series of natural disasters, and Picco was moved by the testimonies of families enduring such unimaginable hardship.
“It really plucked at my heartstrings, and I shared it with my students,” he explained. “They were very touched, and they wanted to do something. We were talking about what we could do.”
The class came up with the idea of skipping for set period of time and garnering sponsors to support them for the project. Funds would ultimately go, through the Christian mission organization World Concern, to help families and children in Somalia.
“In the activity room we had started skipping for cardio,” he said. “And we thought that we could devote a week of our physical education time to this, and we will see happens.
“That was our mission – to go in and skip for the entire 40-minute period. And it wasn’t just cool to see them working for a great cause, they were also improving their skipping ability,” he added with a chuckle.
Picco said that his students were immediately willing and eager to support the project, and excited about getting their pledge forms filled up as well.
“We didn’t even really set a goal because I didn’t know what to expect, and then the money started coming in! I was just blown away,” he said. “We were humbled. I’m still in shock at how much money came in, as we ended up raising just over $2,000. These kids and their families, relatives, church families and friends – they were just so generous and it all really came from their hearts,” he added. “It’s quite an experience.”
According to their web site, “World Concern is about extremes. We go to the end of the road to serve people in extreme need because we have an extreme calling—to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a broken world. We follow Him to the thirsty. The hungry. Exploited. Traumatized. Forgotten. We Listen. Walk alongside. Equip and train.
“We see transformation in communities as families move beyond survival. The thirsty drink clean water, the hungry have food, children learn, the enslaved are free, the hopeless find peace with God.
“Our work is never a quick fix; transformation takes time. When a community is thriving on its own and can envision its future transformed, we know our work is finished.”
For Picco, it was a joy and an inspiration to see the students grow through this experience.
“It really puts things in perspective for them,” he explained. “We talked about how we don’t ever even think about eating – we usually just have our meals there for us. We don’t even give it a second thought. And then there are these kids who are just trying to survive, and these families who are trying to make it to the next day. So I think it really did help put things into perspective for the kids.
“And then to see what was possible – when we reach out to people and say, ‘Listen, this is what we are doing – we want to help these kids’.
“I also know that some of the kids were a little apprehensive about asking people (for support) but once they did, we saw we could really reach people and then we saw the money coming in. It was really cool.”
And that joy of helping others is now growing all the more, he said.
“I have kids already asking me about what we will be doing for Christmas,” he said. “So that will probably be something along the lines of Operation Christmas Child. I also had a boy today who said, ‘Mr. Picco, we should do something for the people of Yemen’.
“So this project has started something in their mindsets – the kids will now be thinking more seriously about some of these situations in various parts of the world, and what they can do to have a positive impact.”