Community outreach is both a crucial part of the Green Energy Challenge and one of our team’s core values. We were enthusiastic about contributing to the public service our client, Armour Heights Presbyterian Church, provides by volunteering and carrying out our energy awareness campaign. We joined the church’s Sunday School classes, Mission Possible Kids Night, and Rummage Sale preparation.
Sunday School Classes
Armour Heights welcomed us to volunteer in three of its Sunday School classes, where we taught children aged 5 to 13 years old about taking care of the environment that will sustain them in the future. We designed our classes to connect the concept of dominion in the Story of Creation to environmental stewardship.
In the first class, we discussed how the valuable resources from the Story of Creation are used to make electricity, which we tend to waste without even knowing it. We introduced the children to vampire loads, which is when appliances that are turned off but plugged in drain energy. Then, everyone played a game in which they were energy generators who had to avoid a secret energy vampire trying to drain their power.
In the second class, the children learned about how humans were given dominion over God’s creations. They played a game where they were shipwrecked on an island and had to use the natural resources to survive, which filled the island with “waste”. This showed the children that energy production is essential to our survival, but this depletes resources and creates pollution, thus highlighting the importance of energy conservation.
The third session focused on how energy conservation and efficiency can be applied to our everyday lives. We discussed how we can change our daily habits to use lighting, heating, and water more efficiently at home. We also played a waste sorting game to teach the children that practicing reducing, reusing, and recycling indirectly saves energy by shortening energy intensive manufacturing processes.
Mission Possible Kids Night
We hosted Armour Height Presbyterian Church’s Mission Possible Kids Night. We introduced the children to the Waste Wizard, who loves to waste energy and resources. Their mission was to defeat the wizard and his minions, and save the planet!
The children had to complete various tasks to move along their mission. First, they saved seeds the Waste Wizard wanted to destroy without getting caught by his minions and planted them. Then, they played musical chairs, in which they figured out which waste bins different waste items belonged to. Those eliminated were turned into the Waste Wizard’s plastic zombies and taken to his lair. The remaining children had to save their captured plastic zombie friends to reduce the Waste Wizard’s plastic waste through a game of blob tag. Finally, the children secured energy stones that the Waste Wizard carelessly threw away and defeated him. At the end, they reflected on the lessons they learned about planting trees, reducing waste, and conserving energy.
Figure 4: The children played musical chairs with a waste sorting theme (left) and blob tag to save their friends who were turned into plastic zombies (right)
Reflecting on Our Volunteering Work
Overall, we reached about 25 different children who enthusiastically participated in our energy awareness campaign. They learned about how each of them has the power and the responsibility to help the environment. Those who attended multiple Sunday School classes were able to recall lessons and connect them to their science classes at school. We even had the pleasure of joining the community gatherings after Sunday service, where some of the parents were delighted to hear about the activities we organized for their children and were fascinated by our Green Energy Challenge project.
It was quite rewarding for us to connect with Armour Heights and contribute to the community service they provide. It allowed us to appreciate our technical work by making that personal connection with the people who would benefit from our retrofits. We are grateful for the incredible support from Rebecca Jess and Sarah Roberts in helping us to organize our volunteering work! This week, as we wrap up our final proposal, we will also be joining other volunteers on May 2nd to help the church prepare for its annual rummage sale.
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