Twenty years ago on April 20, 1999, news broke out across the nation of the tragedy at Columbine High School.

I was just ten years old at the time, living in Ohio, more than a thousand miles away from the events that took place here in Littleton. I was actually out of school for the day at a doctor’s appointment. We had gone out to lunch at a local pizza place when we heard the news and someone turned on a television in the corner. I still remember seeing the kids running out of the building—a video caught from a helicopter at the scene—and feeling a strange mix of confusion and fear. My mom was probably more devastated than she let on, and I’m sure she was glad we were not in school that day.

Other staff here at the Mission lived in Colorado at the time and have described the incredible sadness and fear they experienced in the days and weeks that followed.

“I was born and raised in Colorado. We define so much of our history based on before and after Columbine. The entire state was grieving for this terrible tragedy,” Nicole Tschetter, PR & Media Specialist, said.

The event marked a turning point for many of us. In the weeks to come, we all heard the stories, especially of the kids who stood up for their faith despite the threats. They were incredible stories of faith amidst tragedy, hope in the sight of fear and strength beyond words.

Last weekend, a group of 14 students from Columbine High School showed us another bright light of hope as they served meals to people in need at our Lawrence Street Community Center.

“What an incredible morning here at the LSCC…these kids sang and danced the entire time, and lit up the dining room like the 4th of July,” Eric Korb, Volunteer Coordinator at the Lawrence Street Community Center, said. “It was so beautiful to watch our guests smile, laugh and applaud as breakfast was served. One gentleman stopped me, and beaming ear to ear, asked, ‘Why are they so happy?’ I told him that they are a bunch of kids just enjoying life, and he replied, ‘Well, seeing them happy, makes me happy.’”

And seeing the kids happy was a welcomed surprise considering the events of the previous week. “With all of the events of last week, coupled with the focus on the students, their school and the anniversary, they could have come in quiet and sullen,” Eric said. But they came in dancing, smiling, laughing, and as Eric put it, just enjoying life. They even sang while they served, including a few school chants of “We Are Columbine!”

We are so grateful to these students for their generosity in taking time out of their weekend to build into our community and serve those in need. The hope they displayed is a great reminder that we are all in this together, serving one another and bringing joy into the lives of those around us. Thanks, Columbine High School! Check out the Mission’s Facebook page for a short video showing the students singing and serving!