I asked Brian what we could do to help. I was expecting him to say they needed people to come down and help cleanup or bring food. While those things certainly need to be done, his answer was, "Can you just have your students write letters of hope and encouragement to our students?" So many of his students were displaced (one had to leave and go all the way to Texas to live with relatives) and they also lost their meeting spaces as they often met in homes of students.
Last Sunday night we took some time out of our regular service to have the kids all write notes to their peers. We collected them and I just put them in the mail for Brian to hand out to his students. As I looked through the letters our students wrote, I was so touched by their care and compassion. I pray the students who receive them will be as well.
If you work with students and would like to have your students write letters, you can send them to me and I will send them on to Brian. Here are a few guidelines as well as my address to send them to:
- Have boys write to boys and girls write to girls. We had our kids address their notes "Hey Dude" or "Hey Guy" or "Hey Girlfriend" or "Dear Girl" ... something generic so we could differentiate.
- Invite them to be creative but sensitive. If kids are artistic, invite them to draw or paint pictures.
- Ask students not to use their last names or give personal information.
- Read through the letters before sending them to ensure that no one wrote anything insensitive, inappropriate, too personal, etc.
- Separate the letters into letters for boys and letters for girls.
- Mail to: Shelter Rock Church Attn: Kevin Mahaffy - 626 Plandome Rd., Manhasset, NY 11576