By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Sixth-graders attending religious education classes at St. Rose of Lima participated in a three-month community service project with a goal to complete a charitable act starting with only $10 each. The projects that resulted benefited many organizations and area residents, while students learned that everyone can make a difference in someone else’s life.
The idea was initiated after St. Rose of Lima Pastor Jim Houston heard about the Kingdom Assignment project through Our Lady of the Lake parish in Leominster.
Religious Education Director Susan McGoldrick followed up on specifics of the project and after some discussion with catechists, the project was launched at St. Rose.
The project is based on the book “Kingdom Assignment” by Denny Bellesi, which mirrors the movie “Pay It Forward.”
To kick off the project, one of the religious education teachers made a lesson plan of The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The initial $10 each student received was raised at an event at Central Rock Gym in Worcester organized by seventh- and eighth-graders.
Many students decided to take the initial $10 and grow it by having a bake sale, selling homemade bracelets, cleaning garages, doing yard work or challenging family and friends to match the original money to fund their projects. The additional money raised benefitted the particular charity they wanted to help.
McGoldrick said the project was a huge success and many people thought it was a beneficial learning experience outside the typical classroom setting.
“The kids did a fantastic job sharing their gifts and talents to make God’s Kingdom a bit brighter through their actions,” she said. “This project helped them to go beyond themselves, to think about others and how their actions can have a profound impact on others.”
The projects were as varied as the kids themselves.
Cameron Kane decided to simply cheer up two elderly neighbors who live alone by surprising them with flowers and chocolates.
Owen Cacciatore collected kids’ books for Cradles to Crayons and was overwhelmed by the response as he had two large carloads to deliver.
Other projects helped homeless veterans, sick children, local food pantries, the Boys and Girls Club of Metrowest, Operation Christmas Child, Birthday Wishes, and other organizations looking for a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Juvenile Arthritis. Some students collected food, toys, towels and blankets for animal shelters.
“All of the projects were awesome examples of the different ways we can share our gifts and talents to make the world a better place,” said McGoldrick. “The children earned the admiration and gratitude of the parishioners at St. Rose of Lima.”