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Trinity students serve far and wide in annual work-a-thon

| Saturday, May 4, 2002

It is fine, as the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in the early Christian church at Ephesus, to "fight the good fight of the faith," but does doing so include uprooting weeds and cleaning up such grungy garbage as beer cans, cigarette butts, plastic party supplies and confetti?

It did for seven Trinity Christian School students and two adult chaperones Thursday because, as James, an early follower of Jesus wrote a few books later in the New Testament, faith without works is dead.

"One of the basic themes of Scripture is not looking just to ourselves but to one another," said Principal Don Wilson. "In doing that, we bear witness to who we are as Christians."

Looking to and aiding others is the goal of Trinity Christian's annual work-a-thon, during which school closes for the day so students, faculty and parents can perform good works — and not necessarily in their immediate community.

This year, the sixth year for the program, workers went to about 30 sites including Pittsburgh Project on the North Side, the Salvation Army Warehouse in East Liberty, Lemington Elementary School in Lemington and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne, as well as Forest Hills and Westinghouse parks in the borough.

Wilson, in his third year as principal, said the first purpose for the work-a-thon is fund-raising, for which students solicit pledges for work accomplished.

He said the work-a-thon replaced an annual jog-a-thon after school officials "had the idea, 'Why are we just running around a track when we could do something of service to other people?'"

And the second purpose: "As a Christian school, the reason behind this is that this is service to Jesus Christ."

Wilson said that although many other schools sponsor service projects, he knows of no others, either religious or secular, that devote an entire day to them.

He said Trinity Christian goes far afield from Forest Hills because "almost 400 students go out, so we have to spread out to give everyone enough work to do for the day. And we do tend to focus on organizations that are also serving others."

Seventh-graders and cousins Ashton and Lindsay Crawford were two of the students who removed rubbish from Westinghouse Park, and the girls agreed the work-a-thon was a worthwhile experience.

"(The park) needed work, and I was glad to help," Ashton said. "We had fun doing it. There was a lot done, and it looked very nice."

Lindsay said it is "fun helping other people," and the park "looked a lot better when we were done. We accomplished a lot there, and it didn't take us a lot of time."

Wilson said the benefit of the work-a-thon for students is "the opportunity to serve and look beyond themselves and expand their horizons and open opportunities for future service.

"For the school, it gives us recognition in a positive way. One of the goals of the school is to prepare servants of Christ to go out into the world and serve."

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