Q: We’d like to partner with a school, but our church members work during the day. How can we get involved?
A: Great question! Here are some ways volunteers can help with a school no matter where they live or when they work.
Especially in lower income communities, teacher turnover is high due to the challenges that come with student homelessness, hunger, and other domestic situations. These schools are also often under-resourced which requires teachers to either go without resources or pay for supplies themselves. Your youth group, kids ministry, small groups, women’s ministry, and more can help provide simple but much-needed encouragements throughout the year!
Care Package for CFISD’s Hairgrove Elementary from Calvary & Copperfield Churches
Executive Director, Marilyn Lee, shared this experience: My small group was assigned a classroom by our church-school partnership coordinator. We asked our teacher what she needed, and then asked each person to bring various items to our Thursday evening small group. We put together care packages that evening, and one of our stay-at-home moms delivered them the next day!
The Bridge Fellowship and LCISD’s Pink Elementary
External community partners are great, but engaging parents in their kids’ success is important for the long run. Many parents feel inadequate or uncertain about how they can help, so schools across Greater Houston have been working hard to engage and equip their students’ parents. Simply providing food for parent engagement meetings or donating incentives for raffle drawings can go a long way in encouraging parents to attend, and it’s a big blessing for the schools who can then use their limited resources to care for their students directly! (Thanks to Monika from Willowridge High School for this idea!)
McAuliffe Middle School in Fort Bend ISD recently started Saturday Academies to provide extra academic support for students. Breakfast and lunch is provided for all students (which is something a church could donate), and teachers have an opportunity to provide more focused instruction for their students. Volunteers then help with more in-depth tutoring or other special experiences. See below for more from McAuliffe’s partnership coordinator Lisa Craven from Fort Bend Community Church about their experiences last semester: