Full-time Philanthropy at Columbia Adventist Academy

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One of Webster’s definitions of philanthropy is “the desire to promote the welfare of others.” And that makes the activities of this past fall at Columbia a full-time philanthropic endeavor.

One focus of the mission statement at Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) is that “At Columbia, students, staff, and community work together to help each individual become an active, caring servant leader.” To that end, CAA has planned several outreach activities with the intent of promoting the welfare of others. Early in the school year time and energy went into an all-school community service day with CAA students helping others from Yacolt, through Vancouver, and down to Oregon City. This was followed by the seniors working at the Clark County Food Bank and the juniors taking a day away from classes to help the Adventist Community Services Center. Music groups are also responding philanthropically as they annually share songs of the holidays for customers at two locations of Chuck’s Produce, local food markets, and “Journey to Bethlehem” in Gladstone. More time and energy was gifted as academy students worked with 1st and 2nd graders from Meadow Glade Adventist Elementary School to decorate cookies, sing songs, and listen to stories.

CAA students are learning to use their own monetary resources, in addition to time and energy, to help others. Examples of that were seen during a sock drive initiated after a chapel talk by Marshall Snyder from Bridgetown Ministries in Portland. Over 390 pair were donated to help the homeless. And had you walked through the CAA halls this past holiday season you would have seen boxes, some filled with toys, others overflowing with food for holiday food baskets to give to families in need.

CAA’s administration has modeled the philanthropic use of resources, while thanking their supportive community by sponsoring Bravo! Vancouver’s performance of Handel’s Messiah, a free concert. The enjoyment of the evening was made even greater as Dr. Steve Hokett, a local dentist and parent of a junior student, conducted the Hallelujah Chorus.

With all that has happened with philanthropy as a goal, it was best observed culminating in the “Celebration of Harmonious Holidays” dinner, where students, staff, and community members combined forces to raise over $100,000 for the Worthy Student fund. Students did the devotional, music, and serving of the guests, and also contributed financially. Faculty and staff members worked together as a team to pull all the pieces together and added to the dollar count. And community members invited guests, decorated the tables, gave the keynote address, and made the big push to see that the evening was not only fun, but a great success. Mackenzie Wood, a senior and devotional speaker, said it best: “God takes the gifts people give and stretches them into ways they are needed. Thank you for investing in me and my classmates. Thank you for making an investment with great returns that will last throughout eternity.” Matthew’s Gospel says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” May we all live philanthropically from the heart.