"It's not about yourself; it's about helping other people."
With that one sentence, St. James the Apostle fifth-grader Mickey Schihl captured the spirit of the school's recent Day of Service project in Glen Ellyn.
Mickey and fellow fifth-grader Kyle Prout cleaned up outdoor chairs and tables at Sunrise Senior Living Center as part of St. James School's annual program of putting what the students learn in their religion classes into action by serving others in the community.
"We want the students to understand what it means to be an active Christian, work to improve the quality of life for others, and form lifelong habits of serving others," said fifth-grade teacher Audrey Krueger in an email describing the event.
Every student at St. James, from preschool to eighth grade, was involved in grade-appropriate activities at the school or at 16 different locations around Glen Ellyn.
At Sunrise Senior Living, fifth-graders spent time with residents either playing games or cleaning up the grounds.
Sunrise's activities coordinator Mary Shafer called the service project visits "phenomenal."
"This gives kids an opportunity to be comfortable with seniors and have fun," she said. "I think it's hugely beneficial because seniors love kids."