Volunteering – A Family Value
As someone whose family has always been actively involved at church, 18-year-old Azure Peterson finds that volunteering isn’t really something that requires much deliberation; it’s part of the values passed down from her family, and it has already been a big part of her life.
Azure just finished volunteering as a small group leader for this summer’s VBS program at St. Mark. “I always attended Sunday School and VBS until I aged out, and then I started volunteering right away,” says Azure. “I wanted to be a leader for the little kids. I always loved my leaders, and I watched my mom be the Sunday School teacher that everyone loved – I wanted to be that!”
In addition to VBS, Azure has been a helper and leader for Sunday School, the Easter Egg Hunt, and Trunk or Treat; she led games for kids after the first outdoor worship at the Jamie Hurd Amphitheater; and she is a regularly scheduled worship server. “I regularly serve communion with my family, and I’ve helped with media once or twice. I know how to usher if needed, and now I am one of the Scripture readers on Sunday morning. Pretty much anything that anyone has asked me to help with, I’ve done it!” muses Azure. “I volunteered when we did Walk to the Cross. I was the only teenager to sign up, but it was fun!”
Azure is grateful that her family has always been a source of strength and provided a foundation for her faith. “My family has always given their time to church ministries. My grandmother, especially, is such a leader. She’s involved with the care ministry and goes out almost every week to visit people in the hospital or take communion to people in their homes. And both my grandparents are such positive people. They are such good role models!”
Azure’s favorite way to serve takes place on Sunday mornings, when she serves communion alongside her mom. “I started serving communion when I was in 7th grade as part of confirmation requirements. My mom served with me, and, even when my requirements were fulfilled, we kept signing up as a team to help. I absolutely love serving communion, especially on Easter or Christmas.”
Azure’s activities at St. Mark have had an influence on her decision to go into teaching. Helping with Sunday School and VBS made her realize that she liked working with kids, as did one of the mission trips she went on. “On one trip, I did a kids’ club, which was outdoors in a park every day. I worked with kids who didn’t have much; they certainly didn’t have what we had. It made me appreciate all these kids and made me want to give back.”
One of the main reasons Azure loves to volunteer at St. Mark is how connected it makes her feel, not just as a member of her family, but as a member of the church family. “Volunteering just makes the church. Through volunteering, I’ve met so many people, and they know who I am. I like that feeling of inclusiveness. That makes me feel at home.”