Springs Adventist Academy is a proud participant in many community service outreach projects, including a program called Partnering for Eternity. PFE is a scholarship grant program that pairs elementary-age students with seniors in a safe environment to form an everlasting bond, benefitting both parties in many ways. Students learn the importance of leading out, planning ahead, and spending time to help others. They also earn up to a $100 scholarship each month toward their tuition as an added blessing. Seniors feel needed as they use their skills and experiences to teach and impart wisdom to students. Their relationships with the students help to buoy their spirits and reduce the loneliness that many experience.
Our senior mentors are recruited with the help of our pastoral assistant. She interviews the seniors and identifies those who can best partner with our students’ abilities. The students are chosen by their willingness and ability to participate, as well as by their level of financial need. The seniors are then partnered with the students by our PFE staff.
The children, along with their parents, arrange a weekly commitment day and time for this collaboration. Then the student, accompanied by a parent or guardian, spends at least one hour each week with their senior mentor doing activities together such as reading, playing games, working on crafts, or just visiting. Light chores such as taking out trash, dusting, or washing dishes may also be completed. The main idea is to provide an opportunity for direct interaction between the student and their senior mentor, building lifelong relationships between generations.
Each week after their visit is complete the student submits a brief online report called a “reflection” in order for the school to receive the scholarship funds. This helps students to learn accountability and responsibility.
Students who are currently participating in the program have positive things to say about spending time with their senior mentors. One student told his parent, “I love coming here. Do we have to leave?” Another said, “I can’t wait until the next visit!” The seniors also have positive comments about the visits, including how thankful they are to be part of our program, and how they love spending time with the children. The parents love to see their children so happy to help someone in need and it inspires them to spend more time being involved in community service.
The staff of Springs Adventist Academy feels an important part of a student’s education is learning to serve others with a willing heart. The PFE program provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn to plan ahead, be responsible, and give their time to someone who needs and appreciates their help. It is our goal to continue to support and grow this program as part of our extended curriculum, as well as to gain access to and make available scholarship funds through active service of eligible students.
The Partnering for Eternity service is provided by generous donations through Southern Adventist University. Please click here for more information.