Maranatha Students Lend Assistance to Harambee Ministries

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Photo by Shel Segal / OUTLOOK Maranatha High School students (from left) Joseph Brumfield, Ashley Oki, Alle Wei, Benjamin Smith and Patrick Lee spent their recent spring break volunteering at Harambee Ministries in Northwest Pasadena.
Photo by Shel Segal / OUTLOOK
Maranatha High School students (from left) Joseph Brumfield, Ashley Oki, Alle Wei, Benjamin Smith and Patrick Lee spent their recent spring break volunteering at Harambee Ministries in Northwest Pasadena.

Whereas most teenagers wouldn’t consider giving up any part of their spring break, a group of students from Maranatha High School simply aren’t ordinary kids.
More than a dozen spent part of their free time assisting the children at Harambee Ministries, helping the youngsters with their studies and acting as big brothers and sisters.
Penny Cross, a world history teacher at Maranatha who helped organize her students’ volunteer efforts, said the teenagers were a part of Maranatha’s mission activities. And this mission was getting underway with a fun gathering, she said.
“We are throwing them an Easter celebration,” said Cross. “There will be crafts. There will be a bounce house. There will be a time of some games and some music. Then we’ll come back [over the weekend] to serve the facility and do some painting.”
Cross added that while Maranatha does missions in a variety of locations — some near and some far — it is beneficial to help a local group in Pasadena.
“It’s in our backyard,” Cross said of Harambee. “It’s important in helping our students to see that they don’t have to go far to see need, to help and to step in and do good. They can be a blessing here, and they don’t have to get on a plane and go 3,000 miles away to serve. Serving our community is just as important.”
What is she hoping her students learn from this mission?
“I hope they get out of this that they can make a difference and do some good and change even one life,” she said. “Working together, this team can really, really make an impact and change the world just by changing a few hearts.”
Cross also said she hopes the Harambee students can take away something positive by working with the older kids.
“I hope they see how much they’re loved, how much they’re loved by us, how much they’re loved by God,” she said. “I hope they’re able to share that with them.”
And why are the Maranatha kids so willing to give up their spring break?
“I think that they recognize that the sacrifice was made for them and they just want to share that,” Cross said. “They’re willing to sacrifice their own time. It’s a blessing to work with these kids.”
Kayla Alexander, teacher at Harambee, said her students were really having a great time with the Maranatha kids. “The kids are super-enjoying themselves,” she said. “They love when volunteers come.”
Alexander also hopes this partnership with Maranatha continues past this one weekend as she feels it will greatly benefit the children in the future
“We really hope to have that mentorship with the high school students,” she said. “Maranatha is an amazing high school in the area. We really hope to train our students to be applicants at Maranatha. Just for them to see students who are college-bound is great.”
She also said the Maranatha students are excellent role models for her students to emulate.
“I hope the high school students can bring that love,” she said. “The students have different family backgrounds, so they bring that community and let them know they’re here for them and passionate about them.”
Trinity Moore, a junior at Maranatha, said this mission was perfect for her. “I love kids, so this is amazing, honestly,” Moore said. “It’s a sacrifice but when you see the looks on their faces and the energy, it’s all worth it.”
Another high school junior, Ezekiel Funches, said the mission was time well spent. “You’re spending your time to help others,” he said. “Just being a light to others is great.”
Fifth-grader Evelyn Lopez, 11, said she enjoyed having the high school students around.
“I’m happy that they’re here because they help us a lot,” she said. “They tell us what to do and they help us understand what to do.”

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