Students spend a week with the Army
Salvation Army and Phoenix Christian High School provide unique opportunity.
Recently, 10 students and their teacher from Phoenix Christian High School (Phoenix, Ariz.) recently joined the ranks of The Salvation Army for a week, serving others in their city. The school’s “Spring Term” week allows students to choose from extra-curricular activities. For the first time, this year’s list of projects included the opportunity to serve suffering humanity by working alongside Salvation Army personnel throughout Phoenix.
“We were honored to be included this year as one of the options for the students to choose from,” said Major Denise Hawk, Phoenix South Mountain corps officer. “We took on the challenge because we knew it would engage young people and allow them to be a part of the up-close and personal hands-on ministry of The Salvation Army. Teenagers are the same as adults in that they too want to find a deeper meaning for life. One way we can do this is to get them to believe they can make a significant contribution in the lives of others around them. Nothing serves this purpose better than putting a human face to homelessness, addiction, and poverty.”
The group reported at 8:30 each morning to Majors Guy and Denise Hawk at the Phoenix South Mountain Corps for a daily orientation. They began their week by visiting the Adult Rehabilitation Center. Commanding Officer Major Jim Boyd hosted the team for the day, sharing in depth about the program and the reality—and tragedy—of substance abuse. Afterwards, the students worked in the warehouse alongside the beneficiaries of the program. At the end of the first day you could tell that this would be a life-changing experience.
“It was wonderful watching students go from being unsure of what they had gotten themselves into, to reaching out and relating to people they never had a chance to work with before,” said Jan Wolfe, the students’ teacher.
Each day the group encountered a new aspect of how the Army meets human needs and shares the compassion of Christ to people in the community. They were amazed at how little they had to travel to encounter some of the most needy individuals. The week’s work included the local veterans’ hospital, telephone prayer ministry, Project Hope homeless rescue, a divisional headquarters’ chapel presentation, open airs, and distributing sandwiches and water from the canteen. In between activities, students learned about the history and mission of The Salvation Army.
“It was great learning that The Salvation Army is first and foremost a church that happens to have amazing outreach and helpful programs for all people,” said Chanel, one of the participating students.
One of the week’s highlights was a youth carnival where the students were responsible for entertainment. Over 100 children and many parents attended the festivities, which included a complete mobile petting zoo.
“The students were able to put down their books, studies, and cell phones for a week to shift their focus onto a hurting society very close to home,” said Major Guy Hawk. “I’d like to think they finished the week encouraged that they showed Christ through their willingness to be of service.”