Invitation Hill Adventist School, in its third year of operation, launched into the 2017-18 school year with two teachers and 12 students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade. Though blessed with a beautiful, brand-new facility, there are still many challenges that IHAS faces, one being the lack of playground equipment. Fortunately, God often provides answers to challenges in unexpected places and through unlikely persons.
The need for a new playground was recognized, but no definite plans or movement had been made to build one. This was changed by the can-do attitudes and inspiring acts of one young man and one older man.
Jacob Reiss entered IHAS as a first grader this year. Before the school year started, his mom shared with the principal that Jacob was worried about going to a school that had no playground. Jacob is a man of action, and on his own he began fundraising efforts to make his dream for a playground come to fruition.
Jacob began selling rocks in his neighborhood. He found rocks and also used some of his grandma’s aquarium rocks to sell to his neighbors. His first donation that started the playground fund was about $9. Each week, and sometimes more than once a week, he brought in a bag of money and set it on the principal’s desk saying, “This is for the playground.”
A few weeks after he started on this mission, his story was featured in the school newsletter, and it prompted more people to give. It even inspired people outside of the church and school family to give to the cause. To date, $4,454.02 has been raised for the playground fund.
Another way God is making the dream for a playground a reality is through a senior member of the local congregation, Ivan Sievers, who recently turned 95 years old. Sievers is known in the community for being able to fabricate anything. His life is one of dedication, volunteering and donating to Christian education.
Sievers is designing and building some unique and creative pieces from discarded farm equipment to add to the playground collection. The plan is to install the first piece of equipment this summer.
—Janna Wright, principal and teacher at Invitation Hill School, and Frankie Fields, head deaconess and member of Invitation Hill Church, collaborated on this article.