The following article was contributed by Kevin Kimberly, Principal of Memphis Catholic Middle and High School.
“You can do small things with great love.” The words hit me the first time I heard them and still compel me to wonder if I’m doing enough when I hear them today. In the world we live in today, be it politics or entertainment, test scores or annual appeal funds raised, the mantra is go big and be big. Either you win or you lose; either you reach a goal or you don’t.
Yet, Mother, now Saint, Teresa provides us with so much more in this humbling phrase. Do it small, and let the big drama and the huge win come with the great love put into the action.
I have the privilege of being the principal of Memphis Catholic Middle and High School, a Jubilee Catholic school in Memphis, Tennessee. The Jubilee Catholic Schools are schools that exist to serve predominantly low-income families/students who are either zoned for failing public schools or who otherwise would not be able to afford a Catholic education … or in many cases, both. Our students receive significant need-based scholarships and must maintain good standing in order to continue receiving those scholarships.
Particularly at Memphis Catholic, we stress the development of our students as servant leaders. It is forefront and explicit in our mission: “We prepare servant leaders through a challenging Christ-centered education in mind, heart, body, and soul.” And Saint Teresa’s words are the driving force here.
Yet, what I find is that this sense of service – of giving back – is already engrained into our students, and we get the opportunity to develop it even further. This is surprising to many, given that our families receive so much help in order to be able to attend Memphis Catholic, but not surprising at all to us because they get it. It doesn’t have to be showy or demonstrative when done with love.
Back in 2013, I came across a fantastic organization doing great things with great love due to others contributing their small parts – Go4theGoal. No child should have to battle cancer, but the reality is they do. We may not be able to individually do the great act of curing cancer, but we can do the small act of making those children’s lives better. Go4theGoal’s mission is to do just that by providing financial support, developing and implementing unique hospital programs, funding innovative research, and granting personal wishes.
Since then, we have participated each year in their National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day in September where they challenge schools and students across the nation to Go Gold in support of children with cancer. Each month at Memphis Catholic, we pick a particular issue or cause to raise awareness and support. During September, that cause is pediatric cancer through Go4theGoal, and we issue the Go Gold challenge to our students and faculty. Each year, with great love, they answer that challenge, and each year, 100% of the funds we raise go to the above causes through the organization.
I know, I know – another thing to add to the calendar, right? Sure, but at the same time, not really. Logistically speaking, this is such an easy way to give back and bring to the forefront a cause our society has become all too complacent with until it hits us personally. Ever had a dress out day to raise money for the new x or y at school? The same is as easily done here, and for what better cause than pediatric cancer, something that does not discriminate, thus could impact any of our students and families at any moment in time.
No person has too little or too much to give back. Our students and families range from having a little to a good bit to a lot, but the call to serve is not more for one than the other. It is vitally important for our students to be engrained in the act of being Christ for others, not just our students who are well off. I am reminded of the Gospel story in Luke and Mark of the Widow’s Offering, where Jesus reminds us that truly, when we give out of love, we give more than any other.
Join Memphis Catholic and hundreds of schools across the nation and go gold out of love.