DCHS foreign-exchange students Jasmine Zhang, Alice Xu, Jessie Sun and Angel Li are busy at work assembling food packages for delivery and cleaning the kitchen at the Long Neck CHEER Center.
Every year on Return Day, students at Delmarva Christian High School participate in what the school has calls “Return to the Community Day” — a day set aside for school-wide community service. Students and staff alike seek projects that range from helping elderly neighbors to participating in large-scale ministry efforts.
On Thursday, Nov. 8, DCHS students could be seen across Sussex County, raking leaves, mowing lawns, chopping wood, painting buildings, picking up trash, assembling/distributing packaged goods and foodstuffs, cleaning homes/schools/offices/churches, assisting at animal shelters, and more.
For DCHS sophomores Chase Hesson, Noah Rimmer and Aaron Webster and DCS parent Jaclyn Hesson, the day proved to be more valuable than just the physical work that was done; they said it was a day “for building relationships and growing servant hearts.”
“We began our day at 9:45 a.m., and we worked until 2:15 in the afternoon,” said Jaclyn Hesson. “By partnering with the Greater Lewes Community Village, we were able to help a widower by the name of Andre with a very large plant bed that housed three full-grown pear trees, as well as a multi-tiered bed located in the back of his house. After clearing all the overgrowth in the beds and weeding out the plants Andre no longer wanted, the boys pruned the trees, trimmed the remaining plants and flowers, and mulched.”
But, when Andre invited everyone inside to enjoy the lunch he had prepared, she said, the real purpose of the day became apparent.
“The discussion around his dining room table was lively and fun, and we all enjoyed getting to know one another better,” continued Jaclyn Hesson. “We talked about our passions, our favorite places to travel, and the things we like to do.
“We also discovered that Andre is a loving husband and son-in-law who has spent a lot of time supporting and loving his family well. But, he misses his wife — who was the love of his life. We learned that he wanted help cleaning up the garden because it was her pride and joy. The time together at the table was very special for everyone.”
When the day came to a close and the yard clean-up was complete, the boys and Jaclyn Hesson prayed with Andre, which they said turned out to be Andre’s favorite part of the day.
“We were all teary-eyed,” said Jaclyn Hesson, “as we gave each other hugs before we left.”
The bond that was formed that day with Andre and the DCHS group is one that will not soon be broken, she noted. As a matter of fact, the students have expressed their desire to return soon and help Andre with any future projects he has, whether indoors or out.
“When we arrived home, my son told me how much he enjoyed the day, and that he would really like to do it again,” concluded Jaclyn Hesson. “And, later, when he was sharing about his ‘Return to the Community Day’ experience with his father, he told my husband the sweetest thing about the hugs he exchanged with Andre. He said, ‘Dad, he was so nice — and when he gave me a hug — Dad, that hug was a real hug — it was a hug you give family.’”
Delmarva Christian Schools offers non-denominational, Christ-centered educational opportunities to students from pre-K through eighth grade in Milton and from ninth through 12th grades in Georgetown. The mission of Delmarva Christian Schools is “to proclaim the gospel by preparing students spiritually, academically and physically to know and do God’s will in their lives.” For more information, call (302) 856-4040 or visit www.delmarvachristian.com.