When I first began the Fellows Program, the constant flow of events and responsibilities felt overwhelming at times. However, one of the weekly events that stood out then and continues to be incredibly fulfilling is serving at Cornerstone Schools of Washington, D.C. Cornerstone is located in Southeast D.C. and provides an academically robust Christ-centered education that teaches children the habits of faith, love, and wisdom, so they may learn to become compassionate and virtuous leaders serving others in Christ and his truth.
As Fellows, we get to serve at Cornerstone for 3 hours every Friday afternoon. During this time, we read with elementary school kids, spend time mentoring and playing games with 11th grade students, and assist with the after-school program. These activities allow us to invest in the lives of Cornerstone students, many of whom come from underserved communities. We also are able to serve classroom teachers by giving them a bit of extra space and planning time they would not otherwise have.
While serving at Cornerstone, I have been reminded of what Jesus instructed us in Matthew 5:15-16. Jesus says to let our light “shine before others, so that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven.” Jesus instructs us to do good in his name in such a way that others give thanks and glory to the Father, rather than to us. Each week at Cornerstone, we have the opportunity to do good works through the love and encouragement we provide to the children and teens we see each week. Specifically, this is accomplished through doing things like taking the time to read with a second grader. Although at times this may feel small and insignificant, it is extremely important to the intellectual and social development of the students. Similarly, something as simple as playing freeze tag at the playground shows the kids that there are adults whose joy is to spend time with them, having fun together. We do these things to allow the kids to feel loved, because being loved is a vital part of a happy childhood, and we are fortunate to assist with this. Some of the kids routinely say that their time with the Fellows on Friday afternoons is the highlight of their school week. As I wrote previously, personally I find caring and spending time with the kids to be very rewarding. As good as that is, it is even more important and gratifying to know that I have left them with not only a happy memory of our interaction, but also encouraged them to see the good works which have brought glory to the Father.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” — Proverbs 22:6