Reaching Away Students: Student of the Week | Walking Worthy: Reaching Away Students: Student of the Week

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reaching Away Students: Student of the Week

Our college ministry is constantly looking for ways to reach students away at school. My husband and I tossed around ideas, but never had time to formulate a plan to reach our away students. Kayla, one of our student leaders, approached us with an idea.

Kayla’s idea was to create Student of the Week. Kayla says “ I realized how important community was and that leaving that community is a big leap of faith and can be super intimidating. I wanted our students away at school to know their church community was still loving them and praying for them. That people were waiting for them to come home, but also encouraging them to find community there.”
Remember how exciting it felt getting real mail as a college student? Ultimately Student of the Week puts real mail in the mailboxes of our students away at college. Each week we feature two students and write notes to them.  We share on white boards each student's name, the name of their college, and ways to pray for them. We pin an empty envelope next to each name, lay out note cards, pens, and markers and ask students fill up the envelopes with personal notes. Each envelope stays on the board for one week allowing everyone an opportunity to write each person. At the end of the week we take the envelopes and mail them along with a general letter that Kayla wrote. 

Kayla spent many months planning and praying over Student of the Week. Student of the Week now has it’s own space in our college ministry area. If you want to start your own student of the week area here is how you can get started:
Where do I Begin? 
Collect information from your college students. We created a simple card to have on hand. Over Thanksgiving and Christmas we intentionally sought out information on students who were away at college. We even told them if they filled out the card they would receive something in the mail. 

Purchase and Gather Supplies:
  • White board that is half cork board (similar product)
  • Push pins (our dry erase board/cork board came with them)
  • Dry erase markers (similar product)
  • Regular markers
  • A box of pens
  • A stack of notecards
  • a box of envelopes
  • a general letter to include with personal notes
  • Printed calendar or planner
  • Folder for calendar and envelopes

Calendar students for an entire semester. 
Our goal was to reach every away student we gathered information on in one semester. To make that work for us, Kayla calendared two students each week. Calendaring students for the entire semester makes the entire process easier (trust me this step is worth it). 

Write a general letter to be included with personal notes. 
The purpose of the general letter is to tell your away college students who the personal cards are coming from (your college ministry). The point of the letter is to say our college ministry cares for you and we can’t wait to see you again! 

Introduce the idea to your college students and get to writing!!! 
Share each student’s name, school, and ways to pray for them on whiteboards. Pin an empty envelope on the cork board next to each name, lay out note cards, pens, and markers and ask students fill up the envelopes. We encourage students to write encouraging notes, ways they are praying, or a favorite verse. At the end of the week take the envelopes and mail them along with your general letter. 

Here are some free printable note cards you can download and print on your own:
Jones Design Company  
The Pretty Blog
Lauren McKinsey

I keep wondering how it took us so long to figure out something so easy, but sometimes it takes someone else, who has a heart and a passion for something to come up with an idea that you could have never thought of. (Plug: that’s what we love about our student leadership team. They bring ideas, passions, and talents to our ministry we just don’t have. We are super grateful for the way they lead and serve in our ministry)
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