Trevecca welcomed more than 400 students and sponsors from 29 youth groups to campus this week on for Mission Nashville.
Mission Nashville provides middle and high school students with service-based mission sites that give resources to communities in need. The youth groups rotated among 46 service sites during the weeklong event, July 10-14.
This is the sixth year Trevecca has offered the program.
Sarah Thompson, Trevecca’s admission, event, and special team coordinator, has been amazed at the participants’ eagerness for all site projects.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by how happy the youth are,” she said. “I just sent a group out to do trash pickup on Murfreesboro Road and one girl was like, ‘I love picking up trash.’ It was surprising that she was really excited about this!“
During the week, the youth groups waste no time, Thompson said. The students have usually eaten breakfast and are heading to their first site by 9 a.m. Around 11:30 a.m., the students take a quick lunch break before they head to the second site, where they serve from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“it’s been a busy week for the youth but they enjoy it!” said Thompson.
Mission Nashville doesn’t just strive to help the community, but also seeks to instill the importance of service and relationships in the lives of the participants.
“The goal is to get youth and teens out into the community and help them to understand why it’s important to serve and volunteer,” Thompson said. “I also think it’s a good time for the youth to be together.”
During Mission Nashville, the participants are challenged to think differently. A poverty stimulation of the struggles people face when homeless is one way this learning happens.
“The youth got to see what it looks like to live in poverty,” Thompson said. “The kids were given different roles in the poverty situation, and they go to different stations. For three hours, they learn how to live in poverty and what it takes to survive those circumstances.”
At night, the students have time to wind down and enjoy activities that are planned for them. On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights, Mission Nashville participants took part in worship services led by Trevecca PR bands and guest speaker Jeff Stark. On Wednesday night, the youth group enjoyed a free night to explore Nashville.
For Thompson, the weeklong event has involved a lot of work and fun, but most of all, she’s excited that the Mission Nashville students had a chance to serve the city of Nashville with a servant’s heart.
“It’s refreshing to see the youth happy about service,” Thompson said. “Even the things that seem like it won’t be fun, it seems like a lot of the students are making the most out of it.”