GREENFIELD — With a bright, yellow construction hat atop her blonde head, preschooler Zoey Tate shuffled to the front of a crowd of her peers, eager to tell them about everything she’d learned at Greenfield Christian Church this week.
Zoey knew about building, about helping and giving and sharing, she rattled off with a smile. And while she talked, the grown-ups nodded along with her list, hoping those messages will remind her as she grows to always give to those less fortunate than she.
This week the Greenfield Christian Church invited kids from around the county to join in a vacation Bible school program aimed at teaching children the importance of community service. The curriculum, called “Under Construction,” was developed by Habitat for Humanity International, and it uses biblical stories to help children understand the positive impact they can have on their neighborhoods when they strive to serve others.
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The preschool to fifth-grade students who attended the church’s program this week played games that focused on teamwork, heard stories about volunteering and made items that will be donated to Habitat for Humanity homeowners, said the Rev. Frank Everett, the church’s head pastor.
The “Under Construction” program also introduces young people to Habitat for Humanity’s vision — to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
The program comes of the heels of Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity announcing it will build its first home in Greenfield this year. Members of the church say they’ve already signed up to volunteer during the build.
The children were taught that while they might not be able handle the hammer or paintbrush needed to complete a Habitat house, they can give back in other ways, Everett said.
The hope is the kids will carry these lessons with them to become service-oriented adults who might one day volunteer for Habitat or another organization like it, he said.
“Lots of little things make something big possible,” Everett said. “When we join together, great things happen.”
While Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, its efforts stretch beyond creed, organizers said.
Abri Hochstetler, a spokeswoman for Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, relies on programs like the one conducted in Greenfield this week to introduce the organization’s philosophies to kids. While Habitat for Humanity has a worldwide impact, its leaders still think of the organization as a grassroots initiative, where church congregations or other groups take action to start local chapters.
Getting kids involved only helps Habitat for Humanity grow, Hochstetler said.
The congregation at Greenfield Christian Church is service-oriented, which impacted the decision to use a program that instills those beliefs, said Dawn Schoen, director of the church’s Bible school program. Older kids might be able to raise money for nonprofit organizations like Habitat, while younger kids might just give a hug to someone who seems sad; either way, they are helping others, Schoen said.