Holy Family Parish's Vacation Bible School was a big success this year with 44 volunteers and 58 children in attendance. The week-long school in June used weird animals as a theme this year.
The children attending were in grades kindergarten through fourth. Volunteers ranged from middle school students through adults. Together they went through a week of activities that showcased the theme and demonstrated how Jesus' love is one-of-a-kind.
''The main objective of our VBS this year is that God filled the world with many different types of animals, including us,'' said Marnie Kelty, director of religious education and youth minister at Holy Family. ''When children feel weird, different or even lost in a crowd, nothing compares to the extraordinary love of Jesus. We can depend on Jesus' unconditional love.''
Photo Special to the Town Crier
Holy Family Parish's Vacation Bible School students worked hard to fill baskets with items to be donated to Open Arms Community Outreach, a local charity that helps the less fortunate. Pictured with one of the baskets are Bible school students, in front, Angelina Sabatino, Victoria Balestrino, Dominic Graziano, Anthony Formichelli and Nick Zeno. In back are Mary Kate Zeno, Anthony Fire and Katie McDonald.
Each day of the Bible school, children rotated through a variety of stations where they learned songs, participated in Bible skits and group discussions, and visited to the Critter Cafe, where they connected with the daily Bible point. They also enjoyed the Imagination Station, where they experimented with science-fun activities.
''The children were able to keep the science gizmos from Imagination Station and collected a different Bible Buddy each day,'' Kelty said. ''A Bible Buddy is a dog tag that has a different character for each day of the week that reinforces the Bible point of that day and serves as a reminder for the future of what they learned.''
They also got a lesson in giving by collecting a donation of personal care items during the week for Open Arms Community Outreach Inc., a local non-profit located in Youngstown. Kelty said that organization is solely funded on donations from the community and distributes donated clothes and personal care items to the homeless and less fortunate.
''We chose this charity as a tangible way to put what the children learned from the VBS Bible points and their faith in action,'' Kelty said.
The Holy Family Bible School has been on-going for over 25 years. This year, the sign ups grew in numbers since previous years.
Kelty said it continues to grow, and students who attended often come back as volunteers when they hit middle-school age.