Oklahoma Bible Academy upperclassmen recently volunteered at community organizations across Enid, while other students packaged rice for Stamp Out Starvation.

Commitment

All high school students at OBA are required to complete voluntary service hours during the year, school officials say. Service hours are divided between the Enid/Garfield County community, a student’s local church and OBA.

“It’s important that our students get into the practice of serving their communities and churches. Service is a great way for students to develop their leadership skills and live out the gospel commitment to serve others. As part of our curriculum, we work to make sure that students understand that they are blessed in order that they can be a blessing to those around them,” OBA Headmaster Andy Wilkins said.

There are several requirements for service to count toward a student’s required number of hours.

The students may not be compensated for their time, and there cannot be any direct benefit to a student. Individuals served cannot be relatives, and organizations served cannot be owned by the serving student’s family.

‘A better person’

“I enjoy serving. It’s fun. I feel like I’ve become a better person since I came here (to OBA). They encourage you to help other people,” Jett Cheatham, a senior, said. “There’s a lot more people in need out there than we realize.”

He has helped with Stamp Out Starvation and Hope Outreach.

“My favorite part is seeing the people who are happily affected by it,” Cheatham said.

‘Give all of yourself’

Arianna Turner, a senior at OBA, has served every year since she started seventh grade at OBA.

“When I think about serving, I think about how you’re humble, you’re willing to give all of yourself to someone’s need, you’re willing to help them out no matter how long it takes or whatever the problem could be,” she said. “What I’ve learned from serving others is that you always have to be patient and always have a happy attitude no matter what could happen.

“If there’s a problem or an obstacle in your way, you have to keep it positive and keep pushing.”

Turner’s favorite part about serving is getting to bond with a lot of people and getting to make people smile.

Learning leadership

Grace Lohman and Bethany Meier, both seniors, volunteered together at the YWCA.

“We helped sort prom dresses and shoes. I enjoyed it. It was like working with your friends to help other people have a fun prom experience,” Lohman said.

Lohman also volunteers at her church — Oakwood Christian Church — where she leads worship, volunteers in the nursery and helps with vacation Bible school. She also has volunteered for the food drive in the past and led worship at middle school camp.

“It’s made me want to be a better example and leader,” she said.

Meier also has volunteered at Denny Price Family YMCA, at Loaves and Fishes and in the nursery at her church, Gospel Light Baptist Church.

Her favorite part about serving is being able to help others, and being a good example that possibly shows people Christ.

A connection

Seth Cummins, a senior, noted OBA requires all seniors to have 50 hours of community service to graduate.

“It’s good to interact with other people in a setting that I wouldn’t normally be able to.

I like volunteering at the Commons. I liked it because I got to connect with people who are at a different age than me — people who are a lot wiser than me,” he said. “I also helped with Stamp Out (Starvation) packaging meals.

“Serving has given me a new perspective on people in different situations than me.”