Contributed by Marianne Okubo, Shinnyo-en Chicago Temple
On May 6, 2018, the Shinnyo-en Chicago Temple celebrated its sixth year of holding Family Service Events, which started in 2012 and became a regular community event at the temple. Before the volunteers rolled up their sleeves to start working on projects, two of the longer-term partner organizations of the Chicago Temple and Shinnyo-en Foundation (SEF) each made a brief presentation.
Mr. Joseph Bush, a teacher from Elk Grove High School and Ms. Breeze Fromm-Sarto, program coordinator of the Honeycomb Project, both mentioned how inspiring it was for them to attend the National Service-Learning Conference for the first time in March and learn many new ideas to take back to their own community service projects. SEF has been sponsoring the National Service-Learning Conference for over a decade, as a way to not only support the conference organizer, the National Youth Leadership Council in St. Paul, MN, but also contribute to the field of the youth service-learning and volunteering. This year, SEF also sponsored the Honeycomb Project’s participation to help the Honeycomb raise their national presence, as well as gain new ideas and perspectives about service projects. Their presentations about the conference set the right tone to start another successful Family Service Event at the Chicago Temple.
Approximately 60 people gathered at this year’s spring event with many community members in attendance. Through word of mouth, the event has now spread among the local area and included the members from the local Leo Club, Girl Scouts, Elk Grove High School’s Leadership through Service class, as well as the members of the Community Character Coalition of Elk Grove. Two new organizations–Prince of Peace Methodist Church and the Elk Grove Village Library’s “Teen Advisory Group”–were added as benefiting organizations along with our regular recipients: Kenneth Young Center, WINGS, PADS/Journey the Road Home, Honeycomb Project, and Humanitarian Services Project.
The Prince of Peace Methodist Church has a long standing relationship with the Shinnyo-en Chicago Temple through the Interfaith Council. They were in need of food collections for their Backpack Program which provides items needed during non-school days. Colorful drawstring backpacks were filled with canned ham, canned green beans, and bags of mashed/scalloped potato mix along with a dessert (cookie or brownie) mix.
Intricate bookmarks were made from origami paper and were distributed to the Teen Advisory Group at the Elk Grove Village library. The bookmarks proved to be challenging but many young members followed the accompanying instructions and were able to develop beautifully folded animals and corner-page bookmarks.
The items made for the remaining organizations included: No-sew fleece blankets, hygiene kits, birthday party in a bag, decorated journals, and hand-decorated puzzles.
Thank-you to the many hands who made this spring event another success! We look forward to hosting another Family Service Event in the fall with our many neighbors and friends!
To view more photos from this Family Service Event, please click this link.