CJ Students Serve in Spirit of Advent Season

For senior members of FLIGHT (Faith Leaders in God’s Hands Today) and Eagle softball players, serving others is just as much a part of celebrating Christmas as decorating the tree and hanging the stockings.

Both groups were spotted spreading Christmas cheer among the young and elderly members of the greater Dayton community during the first week in December. According to Kelli Kinnear, director of ministry and service, creating a holiday tradition of giving back helps keep students reminded of the real reason for the season.

“We went Christmas caroling at Mercy Siena because we wanted to serve others to keep in the spirit of the Advent season,” said Kinnear, who chaperoned FLIGHT carolers on their first period field trip to the North Main Street retirement community Wednesday, Dec. 5.

“It is important to remember as we prepare for Christmas that there is a lot more than just giving material gifts during these liturgical seasons,” she said. Those in attendance were also able to meet a few Marianist brothers in residence at the home while caroling, a tradition that was initiated for the first time during the 2011-12 school year.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, members of the CJ softball team also volunteered for a second consecutive year at the City of Moraine’s Pancakes with Prancer community breakfast. The event benefits the Christmas Smiles Program, which provides gifts and food baskets to needy families in the southern Montgomery County city, said head coach Dee Bowlling.

“The City of Moraine requested the softball team come back this year because the girls really made it enjoyable for the kids. I have received many compliments about how nice and attentive the girls are and how well they represent CJ,” Bowling said.

Softball players worked with children of all ages at art-and-craft stations before taking a team picture with Santa Claus. An estimated 350 people enjoyed the fun holiday breakfast and as a result, 127 families and 296 children -- who otherwise might go without -- will receive food baskets and gifts this Christmas, according to Bowling. Some players will return Dec. 14 to help assemble give-away baskets.

For many Eagles teammates, the breakfast was the second such weekend morning spent serving the community this year. On Saturday, Nov. 3, the girls also volunteered to stand in as “victims” for the Moraine Citizen Emergency Response Team’s (C.E.R.T.) mock disaster training final exam.

“Members of the CJ softball team assisted us as ‘victims’ and their willingness to assist and enthusiasm for the task made this a realistic and educational experience for the C.E.R.T. members,” wrote Moraine Fire Chief Anthony Trick in a letter to Principal John Marshall. He thanked the team for their time and effort.

“The softball team is about giving back,” Bowling said. “The girls are always willing to help and I am so proud every time with the giving and selflessness my players and parents give each season – most players don’t need the service hours to fulfill their religion requirement, but are always willing to help.

“It isn’t always just about playing the game of softball that’s important. I feel community service is key to allowing each player a well-rounded high school experience in line with the mission of Chaminade Julienne,” Bowling said.