For the past nine months I've been working with a kids' program at my church, helping to teach Beth Guckenberger's curriculum from Tales of the Not Forgotten. It's all about how God has not forgotten orphans around the world and how we can help not only orphans, but everyone around us.
This has really opened my eyes to the myriads of ways that even the smallest kids can be helpful.
My favorite thing about helping with this program has been seeing the kids really want to help others.
So imagine my excitement when I was asked to be a part of the Adventures in Odyssey's Summer of Service Kick-off! Not only is this program designed to encourage kids to begin serving in their communities, but there's also a challenge and a giveaway as part of this program. Here's how AIO describes it:
Join Adventures in Odyssey this summer to discover how fun it can be to serve others!
Adventures in Odyssey, the beloved audio series from Focus on the Family, has encouraged kids toward a stronger faith for 25 years. Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the other loveable characters from Odyssey have shared countless adventures with kids across the world in the classic audio dramas, books, videos, and devotionals, fulfilling the AIO promise to help kids discover, imagine, and grow.
This summer, Adventures in Odyssey is joining with Christian bookstores across the country, inviting kids to participate in a Summer of Service. They’re promoting the biblical message, “When you serve, everybody wins,” encouraging kids to serve their families, their communities, and their world. Whether it’s baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or putting together a care package for missionaries overseas, kids will discover that serving can be a blast!
How the A.C.T.S. (A Call to Service) challenge and contest works:
Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at whitsend.org. At the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.
A hundred winners will get the brand new AIO Album, and after online voting, two grand prize winners (one boy and one girl) will get to travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Based Adventure trip to another country with a parent! The out-of-country destination will be announced on a live podcast May 22—hosted by AIO actors Katie Leigh (Connie) and Chris Anthony (Chris)—which you can watch at whitsend.org/acts. You don’t want to miss it!
This all sounds like fun and games, and it can be, but serving others has more benefits than just the possibility of winning fun prizes. It can bond your family, mature your child, grow responsibility, help to mold them into caring adults, and build community. AIO says that:
Our culture puts an extravagant amount of energy into raising kids who will grow up to feel good about themselves. In schools, clubs, homes, and even at church, adults have made a decided effort to bolster children’s “self-esteem” –not by actually encouraging kids do something that’s worthwhile, but by simply telling them they are important and valuable.
At the turn of the century, researchers predicted that the next generation would respond to these efforts of raising self-esteem by being filled with optimism and civic duty. Unfortunately, recent research shows the opposite. Kids coming of age today are more self-centered, disrespectful of authority, and depressed than ever before.
In a very real way, then, the best path toward building selfless, confident children is to help and encourage them toward a growing and thriving faith in God. And that includes obedience to what God teaches—not because it makes kids feel good, although it often does—but because they’re following God’s instructions to love Him and serve others. That builds a faith they can count on and carry with them into adulthood—which is the greatest gift any parent can bestow on their child.
You can find out even more at the Summer of Service Launch Party on May 22nd.
But wait! There's more! (I've always wanted to say that.)
You can download a free mp3 episode of the AIO A Call to Serve here.
Are you ready to get started? Download a free copy of service ideas for kids here.
How does your family serve others?
Last week Carlie at So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler shared a post about a great DVD-based art curriculum. We've been looking for one of these, and so it was especially great to read her review. To find out more, visit So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler - and Carlie, please visit our Inspired Wednesday page and take the "I was featured on
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