St. Viator School in Las Vegas is located near the Life Care Center of South Las Vegas, yet many of its students have never been inside the nursing and rehabilitation facility. Until Tuesday.
As a service project through Campus Ministry, sixth graders made valentines for the senior residents and delivered them as a group after school.
“Students learned in religion class what a facility like this does and how some of its residents don’t receive many visitors,” said Campus Ministry Director Jamie Reyburn. “In response, they created more than 170 valentines to be delivered to the residents and to the employees.”
While making valentines for others is not new, delivering them in person and visiting with these senior residents was not only new, but impactful.
“It was beautiful to watch the students help residents create cards and deliver the ones they had made,” Mrs. Reyburn added. “Students loved the experience so much they didn’t want it to end. So many employees commented on how wonderful it was to have children spreading joy.
“Even employees were touched as they received cards from the students, getting tears in their eyes,” she added. “The students especially loved going door to door and visiting with some of the long term residents, who enjoyed talking and asking them questions.”
It was Viatorian Associates Brian Barrett and Paul and Rosy Hartz who started the Campus Ministry program at St. Viator in 2013, making it the first school in the Diocese of Las Vegas to offer the program. After taking high school students from the parish to the Viatorian Youth Congress, they decided educating students about the Viatorian charism — and its emphasis on service and embracing those accounted of little importance — should start earlier.
Consequently, each grade level in the junior high meets once a month for Campus Ministry experiences. A grant every year from the Viatorian Community underwrites the cost. Rosy Hartz, who continues to serve as Director of Faith Formation at the parish, handed over the reins to Mrs. Reyburn at the beginning of this academic year.
“Students loved serving their community today in a profound way,” Mrs. Reyburn added. “Hopefully they learned that service can simply be their presence in someone’s life.”