Learning to lead by learning to serve
by Staff Writer
It takes humility to sit down in front of a stranger and wash his feet.
That humble nature is exactly what makes a leader, said Kayla Summer, a senior at SouthLake Christian Academy.
“To be a true leader,” Kayla said, “you have to serve.”
Kayla and several other SouthLake students filed into Community in Christ Lutheran Church in Huntersville Monday, Jan. 16, to wash the feet of Vietnamese refugees, known as Montagnards, and deliver them new shoes from Samaritan’s Feet.
“We partnered with Samaritan’s Feet and with Community in Christ Lutheran Church to distribute shoes,” said Susan Smith, lower school principal at SouthLake.
The school’s Student Missions Fellowship organized the project, which included a barefoot basketball game in December between SouthLake staff and students.
Sam Orr, a junior at the school who works with the Student Missions Fellowship, said parents, friends and staff at SouthLake have gone above and beyond for this effort.
“We saw that there’s an opportunity available for us to help, so we jumped on it,” Sam said.
Kayla, who also serves as the school’s student body president, learned about the Montagnard children through a tutoring program at the library in Huntersville.
“I just thought it would be awesome to serve them like this,” she said.
She’ll also be going on the senior class mission trip to Peru later this year to distribute some of the shoes the school purchased to boys at a school there.
For the first two weeks of December, students at SouthLake earned money to donate to buy the shoes from Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide shoes to 10 million children over the next 10 years.
“We challenged the students to bring in the money for 900 pairs of shoes,” Smith said.
That meant a total of $9,000, or that each student needed to bring in about $10. The school asked its students not to just ask for the money, but to earn it.
“Giving isn’t something you have to participate in,” Smith said. “We wanted the students – especially the younger students – to learn that when you earn it and give it away, it means more.”
So students asked for extra chores around the house, and overall brought in $11,040.
“We raised enough for more than 1,100 pairs of shoes,” Smith said.
The school distributed some of those shoes Monday night at Community in Christ, the school’s way of honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day with community service.
“The King family wanted something more than just a holiday, something that really symbolized the kind of man that Martin Luther King was,” Smith said. “He was a servant leader.”
It’s the kind of message SouthLake works to spread to its students every day, not just once a year.
“I’ve grown up at SouthLake,” Kayla said, “and I’ve always been involved in the fundraising for the Peru mission trip. This year I get to go to deliver the shoes to the street boys.”
Kayla and the other seniors will take about 200 of the shoes collected through this fundraiser to Kusi, Peru.
Missionaries from SouthLake have constructed classrooms there to honor Aimee Powell, a 26-year-old fourth-grade SouthLake teacher who was killed in 2010.
And that message of service is one Kayla has learned at SouthLake, and one she shared Monday night while washing the feet of young refugees.
“Jesus washes people’s feet in the Bible. It shows servitude – that you’re not above anyone else.” (Photos courtesy of David Ostroff)