Auburn Students Experience Joy of Giving

February 18, 2015 | Heidi Baumgartner

What would you do if someone gave you $20 with instructions to invest in a cause that enhances someone’s life?

Victor Moore sat in Bible class at Auburn Adventist Academy and heard Jeff Carlson, chaplain, explain about a new generosity challenge for up to 25 participants. The class watched a video from the I Like Giving website to learn more about investing in someone else’s life. Moore, a senior student from Snoqualmie, was one of the students who agreed to participate in this challenge.

The I Like Giving $20 generosity challenge originated after Washington Conference’s stewardship department read a book, I Like Giving by Brad Formsma. It shares a series of stories about people who are changing the world by being generous in their personal interactions.

After class, Moore talked with his classmates Adrienne Reiswig and Alicia Carlton, both seniors from Chehalis, about what cause they could invest in.

“We had a hard time deciding on what we should do with the $20,” says Moore. “All we knew was that we simply wanted to make someone's day better. The world can be a very cynical place, so we felt like we should just bring a little optimism and happiness into someone’s life.”

They joined their funds together to purchase gloves and beanie hats for the homeless. With the remaining money, they purchased a couple burrito meals for people.

“We know it's not much, but with it being the middle of winter we figured it would do them some good,” Moore says. “It was nice to see the look of surprised gladness on the people's faces. We hope to continue to bring happiness to others, even in small ways, whenever we can.”

Jillian Hightower, a senior from Puyallup, had a similar approach in giving. She partnered with classmates Stephanie Martinez, a senior from Lynnwood, and Jealeah Settlemier, a senior from Richland, to purchase three 6-inch sub sandwiches and 14 chicken sandwiches to give to homeless people near the Auburn library. They also bought balloons and get-well cards to distribute to patients at the local hospital.

“This experience was so much fun, and I loved seeing the faces on the people when we gave it to them,” says Hightower, who said the experience changed her perspective on giving.

“We send our students to our schools not only for a good education, but also so that they will catch the joy of being with Jesus and living a life of service,” says Bruce Koch, Washington Conference stewardship director. “When students learn about service and sharing, they become contributors to the needs of the community. These academy students caught this spirit of generosity in this activity.”