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More than 1,000 serve “others ahead of self” at Whitefield Great Day of Service
Categories: General, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School, Community Service
Posted: 9/4/2018

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On Saturday, August 25, more than 1,000 members of the Whitefield Academy community participated in the school’s second annual Great Day of Service. The army of volunteers arrived on campus early, excited and ready to work, as cars filled every available parking spot as a band in the school’s Grand Amphitheater jammed to Christian music. Each volunteer received a Great Day of Service t-shirt and Chick fil A of Vinings provided more than 700 chicken biscuits to help fuel the morning’s effort. Once gathered, the volunteers were led in an opening prayer by fourth grade student Graham Gertz, followed by song and words of encouragement from both student and faculty speakers. By 8:45 a.m., the 35 project teams were sent on their way to rejoin each other at their service sites all around Cobb and Atlanta, where they completed service work ranging from sorting food and organizing shelves at local food pantries, to building hygiene kits, landscaping, garden work, and much more.

Whitefield’s Great Day of Service was started in 2017 by a small group of parents led by Becky Matherne, parent of two Whitefield students, along with faculty and school administration. Matherne noted, “Great Day of Service was a powerful testament to the many hearts, hands and feet in the Whitefield community willing to serve in a big way. More than 1,200 students, parents, grandparents, alumni, faculty and staff joined together to serve, living out our mission of “others ahead of self.” It was a beautiful day and one that helps set the tone for the 2018-2019 school year.”  The Great Day of Service projects were designed to allow families to work together, providing parents the opportunity to model service directly to their children. In addition, several Whitefield athletic teams served on projects together, furthering the bonds between teammates and among parents in those groups.

“Whitefield Academy is blessed beyond measure,” said Dr. Kevin Bracher, Head of School. “Our community is rich in God’s love and our parents and teachers are intentional about ensuring our students understand that blessing and how to bestow it on others. The Great Day of Service was an incredible blessing on us all, just as much as those whom we served.”

Organizations served through Great Day of Service echoed Dr. Bracher’s words about the incredible blessings of the day.  Mary Beth Thomas, cofounder of HelloHOPE, an organization dedicated to bringing hope and practical resources to families of young patients facing medical adversity at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) said, “Thank you so much for all of your work on the Great Service Day! This was our second year to participate, and once again our organization was blown away by the joyful spirit and servant hearts of your school families.” The HelloHOPE project team hand-made paper flowers for the patients in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s, where live flowers are not allowed.

Kathy Reynolds, Director of Education for Feed my Lambs in Austell wrote “What a great day! Y’all blessed our socks off!!  The playground is amazing and we enjoyed getting to know the teens and parents. Thank you for caring for our mission!” Whitefield volunteers served Feed My Lambs with a playground upgrade, cleaning and painting several pieces of equipment for use by the children of Feed My Lambs’ education ministry. 

Charities and organizations served on the 2018 Great Day of Service:

• Atlanta Community Food Bank (Atlanta)
• The Atlanta Community Tool Bank
• Atlanta Youth Academy (Atlanta)
• Blue Skies Ministries (supporting pediatric cancer families (Atlanta)
• Carrie Steele-Pitts Home (Atlanta)
• The Center for Children & Young Adults (Marietta)
• Delmar Gardens (Smyrna)
• Elizabeth Inn Shelter (Marietta)
• Effective Ministries (supporting Niger Africa)
• Families for Families (supporting CARE for AIDS program, East Africa)
• Feed My Lambs (Austell)
• Gilgal (SW Atlanta)
• Good Samaritan Health Center (Atlanta)
• Green Acres Elementary (Marietta)
• HelloHope – (supporting CHOA)
• Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
• King Springs Elementary (Smyrna)
• KLife House (Atlanta)
• Whitefield Lower School Garden
• Love Beyond Walls (Atlanta)
• MUST Ministries (Kennesaw & Marietta)
• MUST Save It Forward (Marietta)
• PAW Kids (Atlanta)
• SafeHouse Outreach (Atlanta homeless shelter)
• Smyrna Public Safety Foundation
• Smyrna First United Methodist Church
• Keep Smyrna Beautiful (Buckner Road)
• Special POPS Tennis (special needs tennis program, Atlanta)
• Summerhill Community Ministries (Atlanta)
• Sweetwater Mission (Austell)
• Title 1 School Teacher Baskets
• Vinings Lake Church (Mableton)

Relive special moments from Great Day of Service by watching the video “Great Day of Service 2018” online at https://vimeo.com/287711049?ref=tw-share.