Love is an exchange program; it's often in the giving of love that we are most open to receiving it. As Valentine’s Day approaches, we are directed towards acts of love and kindness to the loved ones in our life and are encouraged to share these sentiments beyond our immediate families as well. The lyric from a Beatles’ song comes to mind, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” So as you aim your arrows of affection to those around you, consider these simple ways to direct some of that love through acts of kindness towards our Religious Exploration Program.
Support the Youth Group Valentine’s Bake Sale
This Sunday, February 12, the Youth Group will be selling homemade baked goods to raise funds for their service project field trips this spring and to donate towards the Minister’s Discretionary Fund. So as you buy sweet treats for your sweeties, you will be supporting the continued work in our congregation and community to provide for those needing assistance.
Also, in an echo of one of our General Assembly experiences, you have an opportunity to offer “double comfort.” While we were in Columbus, Oh, we dined in a restaurant called, “Double Comfort,” which donates proceeds from every meal purchased to local food pantries, offering a meal for every meal purchased. The Youth Group proposes something similar in offering an option for you to buy a Valentine’s treat to give to our Family Promise guests this week. In one purchase, you give the gift of a Valentine’s treat to families who are facing homelessness AND you support the fundraising efforts of the Youth Group.
Join Religious Exploration Committee
Our RE Committee is small but mighty. Three of us meet once each month to plan the multigenerational events (holiday parties), coordinate RE Classroom activities with Worship topics, organize summer camp, and recruit people to help with the activities for our RE Program. The RE Committee also works quarterly with the Worship Committee to form the Sunday Team that coordinates worship and congregational activities.
We would love to have more people involved in this committee. It’s a great volunteer opportunity for those who are new to the church as it’s a pretty low-impact way to be involved in the program. You’ll get to know people in the congregation in community-building ways, and well, we really just have a lot of fun together!
Volunteer in the Classroom
Want a volunteer experience that pays back with interest? Be a classroom assistant! We have such a wonderful group of children in our PreK-5th grade classroom that would love to have you join them. Our Lead Teachers are creative and amazing as well. Classroom assistants help teachers with projects and assist the children throughout class time— that’s just a formal way of saying that you get to play.
Our curriculum this winter and spring is Heart Talk, which is the children’s version of Compassionate Communication. Of course everything we do in RE is active and has an accompanying project of some sort, so most of our time is spent creating and playing. RE Classes are held from 12-1 pm. Sign up to volunteer once a month or even once every couple of months!
Volunteer for Summer Camp
There are so many ways to help with Summer Camp that even the smallest act or briefest of time spent make a huge impact. If you don’t have much time, volunteer to help with snacks one afternoon. If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, get more involved and volunteer to lead a class. We can always use help on the Quidditch field if you’re more athletic. We can always use a hand cleaning up after the day, wiping down tables, vacuuming, etc., so doing that once or twice during camp week is a great help.
Aftercare also needs adults to oversee the youth who provide activities for the children who stay after the day camp from 2-5:30. Last year we had a small group of children who just enjoyed building with Legos or coloring or playing games. Signing up for even one afternoon allows us to offer camp to families who work 9-5 jobs.
Donate/Pledge to WUUC
The best way to support RE, and any program at Westside, is to create a vibrant environment based on giving. Westside has a lot to offer! We can support and reach more people in our congregation and our community when we pitch in and share our resources. Take the opportunity to make a pledge or even a one-time donation to Westside. Every bit counts and strengthens our ability to fund the various programs that make Westside an interactive and active community.
Donate time through volunteering on one of our Committees, be a Greeter, help with Coffee Hour, or be a Potluck helper. There are so many ways to give of your time that has exponential effect on our shared experience here. And in your giving to our church, discover the many, many ways we give to each other.
Thank you for the many ways you give to Westside! Please contact our Director of Religious Education to learn more about these volunteer opportunities and to become involved in the RE Program. You can reach Wendy Weiss Southern, DRE, at 865-226-9191 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s available to meet Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday 9am – 3 pm.