Volunteers serve God, serve schools | TheUnion.com

Volunteers serve God, serve schools

They go to elementary schools all over Nevada County every Saturday and serve God.

For people at Twin Cities Church on Rough and Ready Highway, that’s normal.

As part of the “Serve Our Schools” project that started in March, volunteers, young and old, from Twin Cities Church have done a variety of restoration jobs at various elementary institutes – light work like painting to heavier tasks like repairing benches, building fences and making picnic tables.

According to John Fairchild, outreach pastor at Twin Cities, 11 projects have already been completed, and seven more will be completed over the next three weekends. Fairchild estimates around 1,100 people have signed up for the project.

“Before we built our church building, we used to meet at elementary schools,” Fairchild said. “We met at Gold Run (School) at Nevada City and later at Hennessy School in Grass Valley. We were just thinking about giving back to the schools, kind of, with no strings attached.

“The schools were gracious to us, and we knew that we are not just giving to the schools but to the kids, their families, the teachers and the whole community.”

The idea of the SOS project came up last year at the church’s annual pastor’s retreat, Fairchild said, when participants were brainstorming for a potential community service project in spring.

“The church approached us in the schools, and we were flabbergasted that they wanted to do community service at 18 schools,” recalled Terry McAteer, Nevada County superintendent of schools. “We never had a volunteer effort like this on a countywide scale. It’s fantastic.”

McAteer said the schools, in most cases, paid for the construction material while the churchgoers provided the labor.

Grass Valley resident Elaine Blair did volunteer work at Union Hill School on April 29.

“We cut blackberry bushes,” Blair said. “We also did just a little bit of cleanup work like sweeping – with winter there was a lot of mud on the sidewalks. My husband helped in building a retaining wall.”

Blair thinks doing service helps her educate her children – a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old – “to serve and help others.”

Matthew Sprague, a 10th-grader at Nevada Union High School, went with his father, one of the project managers of SOS, to do service work at Hennessy School. He built picnic tables and cleared out weeds.

“It was a lot of fun. We got out there to help the schools a lot. It was valuable,” Sprague said in a few words, characteristic of teenagers.

Margaret Eli, principal of Hennessy, said the quality of work volunteers did at her school “was superb” and that the workers were “well organized.”

For the volunteers and the pastors, the project is another way to put their religious ideology into practice.

“For us as a church that follows Jesus Christ, we put a lot of stake in Jesus, His life, His purpose, His teachings and His example,” Fairchild said. “We love and serve because Jesus loves us, serves us and calls us to do the same.”


To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

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