All Saints Parish in St. Peters provides an example of encouraging stewardship among youth.
The parish gives an award in honor of the late Cindi Sitz-Davanzo, a parishioner who touched the lives of many through generous acts of service. The award encourages the youth of All Saints to carry on Sitz-Davanzo's dedication to service and stewardship. Sitz-Davanzo, who served on the pastoral council of the parish among other roles, died in 2005 at age 39.
The parish defines stewardship as the sharing of time in prayer, talent in service and treasure. It encourages children to display these Christian values each day in their schools, homes and, most of all, in their local community and church.
Ella Elmendorf, an eighth-grader at All Saints School, said she was grateful to be nominated and receive award by the stewardship committee earlier this year.
Her specialty is behind-the scenes work, such as setting up for a Mass in the gym, getting up early to help with breakfast for people attending retreats or helping at other parish events.
An altar server at weekday and Sunday Masses, she has been a regular assistant at the Vacation Bible School during the summer for younger children.
It's no big deal to her. "I just like to help out," Ella said "I've really enjoyed doing all the events."
Her reward is seeing people enjoy their time at church and being happy, she said.
Ella's family is involved in the parish in several areas. Her mom, Chris Elmendorf, said "it's just part of what we do for our church. I feel like it's important to be a good example. But she honestly does get up and do those things not because I want her to but because she wants to."
The recognition from the parish was helpful, Chris Elmendorf said, because "as a parent it makes me feel proud that my husband and I have done right leading by example."
Ella's sister, Elizabeth, now a junior at Ft. Zumwalt East High School and involved in the youth group at the parish, was recognized with the award when she was in eighth grade. "It's nice to be able to serve your church as a family. There's so many opportunities for us, to be with your family and with your extended church family," Chris Elmendorf said. She and her husband, Joe, have five children.
Izaiah Vasseur, an eighth-grader at All Saints School who was last year's recipient of the Sitz-Davanzo Award, said "it makes me feel good helping others."
He gave an example of assisting with a program with younger children and playing football with them. He recalled seeing "the joy on the kids' faces. And the parents were so happy that their children had someone to play with."
His parents served in the military, and that showed him their commitment to helping others, Izaiah said.
His favorite volunteer efforts are serving at Mass and, with his Scout troop, placing flags on graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on Memorial Day. An altar server at Mass, he is a member of the Shalom Club at his school whose members help people in need in the community. Club members choose actions to make peace and justice more visible in our world, basing their actions on the Gospel. He volunteers to help with the Vacation Bible School and children's liturgy at Mass, fish fry in Lent, a scorekeeper at basketball games and more.
His parents set an example by volunteering, even when they were in the military. Izaiah "always been the first kid to raise his hand to help anybody," said his mom, Kim Harrington. "He's just a really good kid."
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