Hope From This Generation

Written by PCA’s Director of Development, Elaina Russo

If you’re like me, you may have thought (or still think) that once children hit age 12 and until they’re about 20, they’re an intimidating group. Moody, selfish, lazy. Those are words that I’ve heard used for this age group…and even thought myself once upon a time. I’m pretty sure my own parents may have used those words for me when I was that age. (Yep, that’s me as a teen.)

A young girl wearing glasses and a tie.

Recently, I’ve been meeting with a group of 7th and 8th grade students for their Missions & Outreach enrichment class, and I can tell you that these kids are anything but moody, selfish, or lazy. These young people expressed a desire to learn about missions, service, and outreach so that they can BE a blessing and shine a bit of God’s light and love to those around them.

Middle school students sitting outdoors in the campus grounds doing project work

They come up with all kinds of creative ideas–yes, even the too-big-to-tackle ones–with the goal of making someone’s day better and inspiring others to serve. They’ve given up their recesses and free time to execute their ideas. They regularly reveal that they can see beyond themselves as they mention wanting to bless those who are often unseen and unsung.

So far, this group “secretly” decorated Mr. Runey’s office door and the Middle School hallway for Homecoming Week; and they spent time with the residents of Bellamy Fields, delivering handmade hearts and messages of love and encouragement, singing for them, learning a little about the residents’ lives, and praying with those who were open to it.

…the exchanges that I have had [with our Middle School students] have blessed me and have allowed me to see our future generations with increased hope and expectation for the good they will do in our world.

As you consider this age group, I encourage you to look at them through a fresh lens and invite them into a challenge and to share their ideas to problem-solve or to bless. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

As someone who is not a teacher, I have less interaction with our students than our faculty. But the exchanges that I have had have blessed me and have allowed me to see our future generations with increased hope and expectation for the good they will do in our world.

A group of girls are holding a piece of bread in their hands.
A group of girls standing in front of a building.

These are the young people we are investing in with our finances, our time, and our prayers. And from what I’ve seen firsthand, our investment is going to pay off for a long time to come.


I shared with you back in October about a group of Middle Schoolers who are part of the Middle School Missions and Outreach Club (MSMOC), with the goal of serving and being a blessing right in their own communities of home, school, church, town, and clubs.

I want to share with you an update on this group of young people as they continue to look for ways to actively serve and bless AND inspire others to the same. This month, the MSMOC came up with the idea to motivate their fellow students toward a culture of kindness within the Middle School. Their goal is to build momentum that inspires students’ words and actions to reflect the love of Christ on a more consistent basis.

To that end, this past Friday, the MSMOC introduced to the entire Middle School a new activity: The Golden Ticket Campaign (think Willy Wonka). How it works is: students and teachers who witness acts of kindness will award a Golden Ticket to the student who demonstrated the kindness. The student can exchange that ticket for a treat. When they turn in their ticket, it’s entered into a raffle for a bigger prize at the end of the campaign. Along the way, those who give out tickets to students will share the stories of the kindnesses they witnessed that prompted them to award a ticket.

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