First, we took out the trash. Although the second-floor apartment had only two bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, and a small living room, the previous occupants had left a lot of trash that needed taken the dumpster – worn-out shoes, children’s toys, piles of papers, old clothes, pacifiers, bank statements, beer cans, broken appliances, paper plates, water bottles, and more. Then we took out the furniture.
Today was service day at WA. As the students split up this morning to join different groups, I had the privilege of traveling to Madison with 14 of Wisconsin Academy’s finest young men. Our job was helping clean an apartment for an organization called Porchlight. The largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing and services in Dane County, Porchlight strives to reduce homelessness in Dane County by collaborating with the community to provide shelter, affordable housing, and supportive services that eliminate barriers and empower the individuals and families they serve. The apartment we cleaned had recently been vacated by a previously homeless family and will soon serve a new family struggling to find affordable housing.
When the dumpsters were full, we piled black trash bags, broken furniture, other garbage along the sidewalk to be picked up later. Then we turned to cleaning. The students were amazing and worked hard. We emptied the refrigerator, scrubbed the cabinets inside and out, and cleaned the sinks. We scrubbed crayon marks and dirt smudges off the walls, peeled stickers off the floors and doors, and cleaned the baseboards. We swept the floors, washed the windows, scrubbed the bathtub, cleaned the toilet, windexed the mirrors, wiped down the ceiling fans, scraped up gum from the floor, and disinfected everything. Lastly, we cleaned the basement.
By the time we finished, the apartment had been transformed. The floors and walls were clean. The windows sparkled. The bathroom and kitchen looked much more inviting, and the whole apartment was almost ready for the next family to move in.
During the season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ to a young couple who struggled to find a warm place to stay in Bethlehem, it felt good to help prepare a place so that at least one more family in the Madison area won’t face that same struggle this Christmas.
Service activities like this are a part Wisconsin Academy’s commitment to achieving a balanced program of mental, physical, and spiritual growth, and are yet another way Wisconsin Academy is preparing leaders for a life of service.