Calvary Christian School hosted its annual community service kick-off celebration on Oct. 13, welcoming a speaker from one of their new charity partners, Compassion International. Samuel Orlando awed students and adults alike with the story of his childhood in a province of the Dominican Republic called Luperón, Puerto Plata, where extreme poverty made obtaining an education or even basic nutrition a significant challenge. Orlando was one of the region’s first recipients of Compassion International aid.
The organization allows a family to sponsor a specific child in need, helping them receive a healthy breakfast and the resources needed to attend school each day, while also developing a personal relationship through letters between the child and sponsor family.
With help from his sponsors, Orlando graduated from high school and now enjoys a successful career as a musician and recording engineer. Today, he and his family sponsor multiple children of their own.
Community Service Chair Shannon Moon said she was inspired to team Calvary with Compassion after her family’s own experience with the organization. In particular, she was struck by one of the group’s unique methods for building a greater sense of empathy and understanding: the “Compassion Experience,” a mobile exhibition that transforms two large trailers into an immersive experience on common living conditions in impoverished regions around the world.
After seeing the experience’s impact on her own son, Moon said she thought to herself: “Our kids kind of live in this Westside ‘bubble’; this might be really wonderful for them to see.” So in addition to Orlando’s speech, Calvary staff and students took class time to visit the thought-provoking exhibition, which set up on campus and opened to the public over the weekend.
Drawing on support from both its school and church communities, Calvary will team with Compassion to begin a sponsorship of children from an entire municipality— Temoaya, Mexico—this year. The long-term sponsorship will help bring school facilities and other vital needs to the area. The school’s service program will also feature gradeby-grade service projects for students, as it does each year.