Each year in 7th grade Bible we read the book Do Hard Things. This book was written by teens for teens, encouraging them to resist mediocrity and rise above the cultural stereotype of being OK with taking the easy way out. The book champions them to “do hard things” that help transform the world. These things can be as simple as doing their chores, completing their homework, brushing their teeth, etc.. In the book we were able to hear about other teens that are stepping up and challenging low expectations and making a difference in the world.
Continuing with this theme of “doing hard things” in their own lives, the 7th grade class was challenged to raise money for a charitable organization. For the 3rd consecutive year, we raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. Students are instructed that they are to think outside the box on ways to get money to donate. Seventh graders raise the funds in their own, unique, “hard” way–gather loose change from around the house, do extra chores, donate allowance, collect soda pop cans, host a lemonade stand, etc. The hope is for students to actively engage in finding and raising the funds without going home to ask mom or dad. We focus on 100% participation from each 7th grader and ask them to work together, contribute as a class and see the outcome and blessings that God will bless when they work hard and step out of their comfort zones.
In our first year of partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma, the students exceeded their goal of $2,500 and raised $3,520.84. Similar success was seen in the second year as they set out to exceed the previous year’s total. They donated $3,555.57. This year’s 7th graders, knowing that an average “wish” costs $5,600, set that number as their lofty goal; they felt confident that they were up to the task of raising that amount. Once their goal and commitment was turned over to Make-A-Wish, the students were allowed to be matched with a child waiting for a wish. Mackenzie is battling Leukemia and is wishing to meet Sylvester Stallone.
Last week at chapel, the 7th graders hosted chapel and announced their results. Students reviewed the ways they were challenged by Do Hard Things and they proudly announced many of the ways they raised funds, both individually and by partnering with classmates. A check was presented to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma in the amount of $8,229.53! And, Mackenzie was able to attend chapel, meeting the students and learning how hard they worked to raise the funds to make her wish come true.
Watching these students go above and beyond to meet a goal has been amazing. These kids did some “hard things” and can take what they learned to apply it in the future for other goals.