Last week, Shiloh visited Trinity’s 3rd graders to tell his story. Shiloh is a teacher, and Shiloh has a love for children. Shiloh is also a homeless man who spends his days at the Urban Ministry Center and his nights sleeping on the streets of Charlotte. His story is not unique and is one we so often hear through our longstanding service learning partnership. What is inspirational about this particular story is what happened after Shiloh visited Trinity. The following week as the 3rd graders made their weekly trek to the Center, the first person the students saw was Shiloh, and they all ran to him and gave him hugs. This deep human connection with Trinity’s students moved Shiloh to send an email on behalf of his fellow homeless neighbors saying, “we extend our gratitude to you, Urban Ministries and especially Trinity for granting us the liberty to speak to them (the children) in regards to homelessness. Now, I believe that I am an ambassador and advocate for this endeavor.”
It is important for the development of children to understand the concept of social justice from an early age. Even as early as 5 years old, Trinity’s kindergartners deliver food each week to our elderly and handicapped neighbors. The extraordinary part of their service is the process. Kindergartners plant vegetables from seeds in a light cart in Science and once they sprout, they transfer them to our 8th Street Community Garden. When ready for harvesting, students work together to pull the vegetables out of the ground & off the vines. The produce is washed, weighed & donated to their service learning partner Friendship Trays, who then cooks the vegetables into meals. These are the meals that are delivered by our students.
These partnerships create relationship formation, transforming charity into mutual service among neighbors. Trinity students are becoming good citizens of the world as they answer the call to love their neighbors.