For 5 days, I had the privilege of taking four 8th grade students to the Lighthouse Mission (a homeless shelter) for their Shuksan Middle School service learning project. One of the girls, Maria, began the school year with difficulty. Her attitude towards school was negative; she was in an unhealthy relationship and was using illegal substances. Our mentoring relationship grew over the course of this year and I witnessed a drastic change in her behavior towards staff, school climate and her peers. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of this transformation process. It was Maria that approached me about serving the homeless population in Bellingham.
It has been a joy to watch these four girls step out of their comfort zone at the Lighthouse Mission and serve in Bellingham. As we have been serving, I have witnessed the students’ love those that are strangers to them and that are often seen as outcasts by our community due to their homelessness. I am proud of the way they are representing Shuksan Middle School and as individuals who care and want to help with serious social issues.