School Mission Team's founder shies away from the limelight

October 07, 2005|By TIFFANY ARNOLD


Rob Wolfe does not like attention.

Patches of red flushed the 15-year-old's cheeks when he was asked whether he chose to be a role model, and he fidgeted during his reply.

"I think humility is really important because it forms how people look at you and if they'll listen to you," said Rob, a Grace Academy sophomore who founded The Mission Team, the school's community service club. He also publishes his own Christian newsletter.

"I'm not necessarily trying to earn people's respect, I'm not trying to impress people," he said. "Serving other people helps you put yourself aside. It forces you to put other people ahead of yourself."


The Mission Team provides volunteers for local community groups and nonprofit agencies. The club has 15 projects planned through December, with plenty more to come, Rob said.

He said the club had seven members when he started it two years ago as an eighth-grader. The club has 47 members this year.

This month, the teens have been collecting items - such as Gatorade, books and clothes - for injured troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. They also plan to make Christmas cards for the troops.

The Mission Team regularly goes to Food Resources Inc., where volunteers sort food for distribution to senior citizens. Ruth Anne Callaham, director of Food Resources Inc., said the organization relies on the students' monthly visits. She said Rob's dedication to community service is what made him stand out.

"They have been such a wonderful asset to this community," she said.

While in sixth grade, Rob started his own newsletter and called it "The Christian Voice." Rob types three to four articles for the monthly newsletter on his home computer and prints around 250 copies, which he distributes to his classmates and throughout Smithsburg, where he lives.

Rob said he writes the newsletters for a younger audience, but sometimes the message is universal. Many of his articles have inspired his mother, Sue Wolfe.

Once, when the family was grieving the pending loss of a family member, Rob wrote about suffering and loving others, his mother said.

"He wanted me to read that to her," Sue said. "I read it about an hour before she passed away. He talked about how you get to go to heaven. That really touched me. He took everything I wanted to say and put it into words."

Rob said he was unsure of whether he wanted to be a full-time writer. He also plays the guitar and enjoys basketball. He said regardless of what the future has to offer, he is sure that he'll always be doing something to help somebody else.

"Going out in the community isn't something I would normally do because I'm not very outspoken," Rob said. "But I put that aside to help out."

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