It’s the event that you readers have named best high school event, best elementary/middle school event and best community event in this year’s Best Of SWoCo results. Project Faith, a community service project and fundraiser for Faith Christian School, connected over 500 volunteer students, parents and teachers with area organizations and non-profits in need of service.
Project Faith started ten years ago as an effort to better reflect Faith Christian’s vision statement: “A mind for truth, a heart for Christ, a will to serve.” The fundraiser started out as Faith Walk, a walk-a-thon, from 1997 to 2000. But in 2001, “we wanted to do something as a whole school and make it more tangible,” said Susan Childs, marketing and public relations director for Faith Christian. ”We are awed and humbled at how God has grown this.”
Each student was responsible for sending out sponsorship letters–at least 15 letters per student for the lower school and 20 per student for the middle and upper schools. Some students went above and beyond, sending out over 100 letters, according to Childs.
Addison Lilley, a fifth grader, sent out 167 letters, according to her mom, Stacey Lilley, chair of the Project Faith Committee. “Addison said she wanted to send out the most letters in the school,” Lilley said. On Thursday, May 5, Faith Christian will hold an assembly to announce which student really did send out the most sponsorship letters–and they will announce the final fundraising total.
This year, Faith Christian partnered with Mill Mountain Zoo, Mill Mountain Garden Club, the Mill Mountain Discovery Center and Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“We choose organizations and non-profits that have a great need that they can’t get filled,” Childs said. “Each year, it starts out as being a service project and fundraiser and we end up getting blessed beyond our wildest imaginations and getting an understanding of what it means to serve.”
Kindergarten through second grades worked at Mill Mountain gardens spreading mulch over the trails and walkways. Third through fifth grades (and some sixth and seventh graders) worked at the Roanoke Mountain Campground to clean up, clear leaves, and spread gravel at the camp sites. Sixth and seventh grades worked to clean and clear the horse trails near Yellow Mountain Road. Eighth through 12th grades worked at the Roanoke River Trail building benches and foot bridges and clearing out leaves.
“The students have worked really hard,” said Rod Broker at the Roanoke Mountain Campground site. Rod directs volunteers for Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Faith Christian does a tremendous job organizing the whole effort. They show a good positive spirit.”
After several hours of much-needed (and, at times, grueling) service work, everyone returned to Faith Christian School for a celebration with food, drinks, music, an inflatable slide and moon bounce and a school-wide game of crab soccer–a first this year.
Check back next week for the final fundraising totals and more results from Project Faith.