Tyree brothers recognized for service by Tennessee governor and first lady

NOTE to PARENTS: Don’t miss a special opportunity to teach your children how to develop a heart for serving. Register now for our Families on Mission class on December 6-7 taught by our Local Missions Director & our Children’s Director. Separate teaching for parents & kids on Friday evening & a family shopping project for the BDC Christmas Store on Saturday. Details here!

When Josh and Susan Tyree heard about First Lady Maria Lee’s Tennessee Kids Serve Summer Challenge, they thought it would be a great way for their sons Cole (7) and Rhett (5) to give back to their community. A certificate for the brothers’ memory books from the Tennessee governor and first lady was an added bonus.

“Once we started some of the projects and the boys got so into the serving, we could just see how God was working in their hearts to lead them to the next project they came up with,” Susan said. “We live in a very ‘me’-focused world, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to teach them the JOY view—to focus on Jesus first, Others second and then Yourself—JOY.”  

The goal of the Tennessee Kids Serve Summer Challenge is to instill in children a heart for service. Rising kindergarten through sixth grade students were tasked with completing a minimum of three to five service projects from eight categories including serving the elderly, food-insecure and first responders. As top participants, Cole and Rhett joined Governor and First Lady Lee at the Tennessee Residence in Nashville for a carnival at the end of the summer.

Cole and Rhett got ideas for many of their service projects out of the Christ Church Serving Guide. These projects included taking lunch to the girls at Bing Dance House, buying art supplies for the VBS drive for Project Transformation, making dessert/serving dinner at Room in the Inn, buying maternity wear for the clothing closet at Life Choices, hosting a Lemonade for Le Bonheur stand at the EMC, donating toys to the Bunny Trail at Le Bonheur/making cards for the kids there, arranging flowers into vases and delivering them to the women at Golden Cross Ministry, making rice krispie snacks for the East High Football Camp and helping Brad Bogue and Danny Shivers make VBS decorations. 

They also volunteered at the Germantown Library, decorated thank you placemats for the sanitation workers luncheon, made cookies for park rangers, gathered and donated food to the Mid-South Food Bank, made thank you cards and cookies for the Germantown Fire Department and sent a care package to a man serving in the military. 

At the end of the summer, each participant had to write a paragraph about what they learned to include with their service logs. 

This summer I learned that helping others in need makes them happier. There are lots of different ways to show kindness and help people know they are not alone. God teaches us to share. This summer I got to share lots of experiences with different people. I am young but can still help in my city. This summer has showed me to be thankful for them and all I have.

This summer it made me happy to feed people who needed food and entertain them. I think it was kind to take the flowers to make the rooms pretty. God says be kind to everybody. God trusts us to take care of each other. I loved all the things we did and the people.–Rhett 

Parents Josh and Susan hope this experience will lead their boys to a life of service. “It just made me immensely proud,” Josh said. “These boys have such kind and caring hearts and get so much joy in helping others. Serving others is a passion of theirs, and I hope they’ll always have that.” 

Susan echoes her husband’s sentiment. “Volunteerism has always been a huge part of my family,” she said. “…As we grew we witnessed our mom and dad, and they instilled that quality in each of us to help even in a small way. So this was the perfect opportunity to share with the boys stories about what I did serving with my parents growing up and then for us to start building our stories that my boys will hopefully pass down to their children one day to keep the tradition going.” 

Learn how to teach your kids to have a heart for serving! Don’t miss the Families on Mission class December 6-7. Details here.

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