By Chris McCarthy
Westbrook placed an emphasis last week on the “Christian” part of the school’s title.
For the eighth year in a row, nearly 1,000 Warriors from kindergarten through grade 12 participatd in the school’s Work-a-Thon fundraiser.
Throughout the day on Wednesday (Apr. 18), WCS students performed volunteer work in and out of Etowah County.
Along with faculty members, parents and volunteers, students performed various community services such as feeding the hungry, painting, entertaining in nursing homes, tornado clean up, cleaning the homes and yards of the elderly and helping care for animals.
Coordinating the program was WCS Elementary School librarian Donette Griffith, who said the three-fold mission of the Work-a-Thon is to serve the needy of the community, enhance the mission of WCS as participants raise funds to support Christian education, and teach WCS children a good work ethic through exercising principles of Christian service and good citizenship.
Griffith said that the 2012 Work-a-Thon includes 42 projects, a rise from the usual 35.
“We go everywhere, either here in the community or the surrounding areas. We’ve got groups going to Pell City, Rainsville and Janney Furnace in Ohatchee. These kids really work hard, and a lot of them get their hands dirty with yard work, painting, pressure-washing and cleaning out the animal cages at the animal clinic.”
Agencies and businesses participating in the Work-a-Thon as sponsors included the Etowah Pregnancy Center; Gadsden Health and Rehab; Etowah Baptist Mission Center; Open Hands Ministry; Even Start; the Salvation Army; Relay for Life; the Cancer Center; Big Oak Boys Ranch; Lakeside Hospice; Etowah Baptist Association; Head Start; Gadsden Sports Complex; Cherokee County Nursing Home; 12th Street Baptist Church/Trinity Lutheran Daycare; The Way Youth Outreach Center; Eagle Rock Thrift Store; Way of the Cross Ministry; Daystar; Habitat for Humanity; and the Etowah County Humane Society.
Griffith’s individual project consisted of 10 WSC freshmen girls putting together medical supplies for an upcoming medical mission trip to Tanzania in Africa. Griffith and daughter Catherine, a WCS freshman, will be members of the mission from June 15-30.
Griffith’s father-in-law, retired M.D. Chip Griffith, will lead the mission through Rainbow Presbyterian Church.
“We’re going to be out n the bush with no running water and sleeping in tents,” she said. “I’ll be in charge of the children’s ministry. What my girls are doing now is packing up medical supplies like vitamins and antibiotics and putting them into containers. This will be my very first mission trip, so I’m really excited.”
Griffith added that all the medical supplies for the mission trip were donated by local pharmacies, doctor’s offices and hospitals.
“This makes me feel great,” said project participant Michelle Williams. “I like knowing that I’m helping someone, even if I don’t necessarily know who they are.”
“I like to know that something simple like this can help in a big way,” said April Godsey.
“I really want to go and help people when I get older, so it’s nice to do something small to help,” said Molly Cash.
“I get a great feeling from helping people,” said DeAngela McGee. “It puts a burning feeling in your heart when you help someone less fortunate.”
“I love helping people, and I definitely want to go on a mission trip to Africa like they are,” said Katie Maurer. “Helping people really makes me feel like I’m doing something important.
“I’m just glad that this one little thing can help so many people,” said Chloe Saunders.
“All of us here in America are very for-tunate,” said Taylor Cornutt. “We take stuff like vitamins for granted, so being able to do this and help people in other countries is just a great way of doing God’s work.”
“It’s awesome to know that doing something as small as this can help so many people in a big way,” said Veronica Ivery.
Griffith said the Work-a-Thon’s monetary goal is $50,000, with the funds going to help with multiple needs of the school such as technology. As of 9:30 on Wednesday, the funds raised amount stood at $20,000.
“Our number one reason for doing [the fundraiser] is to be of help to our community,” she said. “Since we’re a Christian school, we kind of look at it as being the hands of Jesus. There may be a time when we don’t use [the Work-a-Thon] as a fundraiser, but we’ll certainly continue to do it, simply because it instills the concept of service and being Christ-like.”