A team of OCS students traveled to Philadelphia during Winter Break to serve that community, and then during Easter Break, the Philly Team came to the Conejo Valley to serve here.
Student Advocacy and World Community Service Director Audie Diggs, who spearheaded the trip, and Middle School Dean of Students Tammy Kuku chose to serve with the TCS due to their uniquely different cultural experience.
“I saw an opportunity for Christ to be advanced through these students. Furthermore, our world is divided over many things in our current climate. If we can learn to do life with others who are different from us (especially high school students), we may learn to see others who are different from us as more than just an opponent, but as brothers and sisters, whom I have the privilege to do life with. This is why I thought working with a Christ-centered school with a uniquely different experience was important,” Diggs stated.
According to Diggs, the goal was for the two uniquely different schools with the same Christ-centered foundation– the City School being a school in an urban community and Oaks Christian being a school in an affluent community - to come together and serve. If the faculty and staff could unite these two student groups, they would find ways to affirm the unity of the body of Christ.
At the start of this partnership, a group of OCS students and employees traveled to Philadelphia at the beginning of the semester in February. Throughout the week, OCS and TCS students helped sort clothes and bagged some bagels with the Chosen 300 organization. They handed out food to those in need with the D.O.P.E - Doing Our Part Eclectically non-profit organization, where they listened to a speaker, allowing them to learn about all the good that their time would do for others!
In addition to their community service that week, the OCS team also enjoyed the Philly culture as they toured popular sites:lunch at Larry’s Steak, ice skating, and visiting the first black-owned bookstore/coffee shop in Philly called Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Bookstore with The City School, and of course some morning devotions with Diggs!
After a successful week filled with service and new friendships, OCS students said goodbye as they returned to California. Still, the goodbyes were not for long, for TCS students traveled across the country to serve again within the OCS community Ventura and Los Angeles area.
Once TCS students, their head of school, and faculty members landed in California, they settled into their hotels and got to tour the OCS campus. When they were on campus, both groups had the opportunity to sit down and talk with OCS faculty and staff, including Head of School Rob Black, discussing the importance of this partnership and what they learned.
For many students, this was a life-changing experience, creating bonds that will last a lifetime. The students continued to give their testimony about their different relationships with God and how this experience strengthened their need to want to know Him more.
For the rest of the week, Team Philadelphia served the community. They helped at James Storehouse by cleaning up and organizing clothes from babies to adult sizes, sweeping the floors, and wiping down the windows. James Storehouse hosts baby showers, so the students got the opportunity to pick out gifts for the expecting mothers and put them in gift bags.They also were able to decorate some Easter baskets for Easter Sunday.
They also partnered with Hope’s Garden, a ministry of the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, to help out in various locations to serve women and children in need by cleaning and serving food for breakfast and lunch.
In between serving, Oaks Christian showed The City School people popular spots like biking in Venice, the Santa Monica pier, different food places in Los Angeles, and of course, Disneyland, which most TCS students have yet to visit.
This partnership was truly a memorable experience for both schools, and the hope of forming that community that Diggs strived for in the beginning surely shined through.