The mission of Worthington Schools is to empower a community of learners who will change the world.

Being active in community service can be an important component of that development.

Our teachers and staff members strive to develop our students into good citizens, and service allows our students to experience firsthand how their actions make a positive difference.

Although service projects occur throughout the year in our schools, the holiday season is a great time to share how students and staff members are taking part in community service.

In Worthington, service includes not only donating to charities and those in need financially, but it's also about giving time and attention to the social and emotional needs of our fellow community members, as well.

The Worthington Resource Pantry provides fresh, healthful food to neighbors right here in our community. Last year, Worthington Schools donated 17,228 pounds of food to the pantry.

Both Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne high school students and staff members hold multiple food drives throughout the year, sponsor families during the holidays, mentor younger students and volunteer at the Worthington Resource Pantry.

Our middle school students not only participate in various charity programs, but they also provide social and emotional support to peers through programs that empower students to be comfortable with themselves and "Where Everyone Belongs" -- a middle school orientation and transition program that welcomes seventh-graders and makes them feel comfortable throughout the first year of their middle school experience.

Our elementary schools take part in many activities to help the community, including food drives, outreach with senior citizen homes, buddy and mentoring programs and clothing drives.

Notable clothing drives include making 44 blankets to send to Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Quarters for Coats program, which helped teach students the value of working for something and turning it into kindness for others.

For the Quarters for Coats program, students were challenged to have their parents or guardians identify a chore they could do to "earn" a quarter. They then donated their quarters at school with the goal of purchasing 100 coats for local children.

These are just a few of the many examples of students and staff giving time and energy to causes in our community. By being an active member of the community, students are contributing to the betterment of society and, ultimately, changing the world.

On behalf of Worthington Schools, we wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Contact him by email at tbowers@wscloud.org.