My name is Claire and I was a part of the Students Standing Strong (S3) group at Palombi middle school in both my 7th and 8th-grade years. S3 gave me a safe space and helped me grow a deeper connection with God.
With many elementary schools feeding into only one middle school, I often felt out of place or alone during middle school, and the work was harder and more plentiful than it had been in elementary school. At the end of a long Monday, S3 was the best and only thing that could lift my spirits. It got me through the day, thinking to myself, “Just 3 more periods until S3 where you can have fun, and talk about God, and eat good snacks” (of course my mind also went to the food;)).
During my time with S3 at Palombi, especially during my 2nd year, I stepped up and helped lead multiple lessons. My friend Chloe and I lead together, and the time we spent with our group leader going over notes about the lesson and actually leading the lesson itself were some of my favorite memories from my middle school years. S3 cemented the friendships I already had, helped me create new ones, and most importantly, strengthened my relationship with God.
During prayer time, I felt so safe and worthy of God’s love. I had been struggling in my relationship with God, not for any particular reason, I just didn’t feel close to Him and I didn’t know how to change that. S3 felt like a sign from God like He was telling me to come back to Him. We all joined in a circle, bowed our heads, held hands, and gave up our concerns, hopes, and thanks to God. Prayer time made me feel safe and I knew I could share anything with my group and they would pray for me and help me through it.
S3 was such a positive experience for me and I really enjoyed being a part of such a life-giving group. If you can, join! It’s such a great way to get involved with your school, meet new people, and strengthen your faith, and I am so grateful that I did it!!