Vacation Church School: East Meadow NY

East Meadow, New York

Using an ocean-themed adventure entitled “High Seas Expedition – Exploring the Mighty Word of God” nearly 50 children, teens, and adult leaders gathered at Holy Trinity Church, East Meadow NY, for the parish’s 2010 vacation church school program. Participants used scripture and outreach projects to discover the presence of God's Word in their lives.
 
“It was a wonderful week, seeing God shine through the kids during this week,” said Lisa Dellaccio, one of the adult leaders, “He helped us with lots of things, and I am thankful for what the program provided for our kids.”
 
Each day began with morning prayers and a scripture account from the Old and New Testaments, followed by a catchy theme song, and a mini-adventure with the curriculum’s mascot, Sailor Jack. During the week, the children also worked on three outreach projects to help those in need. At the conclusion of the week, the children had a new perspective on God’s place in their lives through His love, comfort, and sacrifice.
 
Because the program’s curriculum was not designed exclusively for Orthodox parishes, Father Martin Kraus, parish rector, met with the parish’s church school teachers to review, edit, and expand the lessons to incorporate elements of Orthodoxy, ensuring the education reflected the teachings of the church.
 
The kids learned to look for evidence of God all around them, to remember the importance of helping others less fortunate whether in their community or in other countries. This was actualized through the outreach projects: including stuffing backpacks with school supplies for the parish’s “Backpack-2-School” project for needy children on Long Island, making blankets for children in Kenya, and preparing food for parish’s weekly soup run in Manhattan. Teen participants in the week-long program joined Father Martin and volunteers from Emmaus House one evening to distribute the sandwiches and homemade granola bars to over 100 homeless people in New York City.
 
Another highlight of the week was a procession of the children with Father Martin carrying our Lord’s cross, while a recording of the 15th Antiphon from Holy Friday Matins was played, to teach the children about God’s ultimate sacrifice for us through His Son.
 
“The work and effort put into this program was apparent,” said Laura Detke, whose daughter attended the program, “It is a treasured opportunity for all the children to be together to learn about their faith, and build friendships with their faith in common. What a blessing!”
 
Participants ranging in age from 3 to 10 along with teens who helped, came from within the parish and four neighboring Orthodox parishes, along with some children from the neighborhood.
 
A photo and video gallery of the week's events has been set-up on the parish website at:
http://holytrinityeastmeadow.org/youth/vacationbibleschool.html
 
Plans are already underway for developing next year’s program, which is tentatively scheduled for July 18-22, 2011.

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