It is important to teach our children to serve others and not always themselves. Serving the community most importantly helps people who need it more, but also gives our children a broader perspective on life, teaches them appreciation for the blessings they have, and conjures up happiness and satisfaction when they are able to help someone else.

Tehachapi’s Heritage Oak School also believes in the importance of developing a heart for serving. In fact, the school requires 7th - 12th grade students to volunteer 30 hours a year at different places and events in the community. Some of these events include Operation Christmas Child, ringing the bell for Salvation Army and last Friday night’s event, Night to Shine, held in Bakersfield.

Night to Shine was created by The Tim Tebow Foundation in 2014 to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God's love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.

Heritage Oak students served at the event in various capacities including cheering on the guests as they arrived, being a buddy (prom date) for a special needs person, serving food to parents of the special needs individuals and waiting tables in the guest/buddy dining area.

Not only did the young adults enjoy a “prom” setting with eating, dancing, and having fun with their friends, the parents of these special needs kids were able to have a nice evening out talking with other parents and seeing their children truly enjoy themselves. Whether serving at the event or attending as a guest, everyone’s hearts were filled with appreciation, joy and love.

Amy Applegate is a parent at Heritage Oak School.