March 2016 E-Newsletter


If your church has been looking for a way to serve your community, look no further.

In April 2015, Leiselle Sadler, the volunteer Outreach Director of St. Francis Episcopal Church, came to a Loving Houston information session sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. At that point she had already been personally involved with serving students and schools in several different capacities.
Leiselle realized during this session that Loving Houston could provide the support she needed to help her church partner with a local school rather than just help with various programs; so she decided to attend a Loving Houston Equipping Session to learn more.

Leiselle left the Equipping Session excited about getting started. She took a look at the map of schools on our website, and found a Title I school in close proximity to her church that did not yet have a church partner. However, she was still nervous about approaching them. A chance encounter with Communities in Schools (CIS) led to a perfect solution.

Narce Ozuna, the Woodview Elementary School CIS staff person, knew the ins and outs of the school and which children were academically at risk. Together, Leiselle and Narce were able to brainstorm ideas about how the church could make a significant impact. Within a few weeks, Narce’s small Reading Buddies program increased substantially through the more than 20 St. Francis volunteers who stepped up to help make a difference at Woodview.

“What surprised me the most was how easy this was! Loving Houston provided the inspiration and foundational principles, CIS provided the conduit, church volunteers wanted to read to kids, and there is no cost involved,” commented Leiselle.
We love that Leiselle and Father Stuart Bates of St. Francis desire to see local students succeed. We also love Leiselle’s initiative in spearheading this partnership, and we look forward to seeing how this relationship develops in the years to come!

Partnership Principles

1 ) Commit up front to the partnership. Before even contacting a school, take time to assess your church’s capabilities and availability. You might need to adjust the details along the way, but don’t get a school’s hopes up and then back out because you weren’t prepared. You can start small, but serve with excellence!

2) Find out who your school point person will be, and have one point person on the church side. This helps simplify the coordination of your volunteers for the school – school staff and teachers are busy! Let’s serve humbly, compassionately, and graciously – for their benefit and not ours.

3) Don’t reinvent the wheel! Many school districts have Community Relations departments with excellent programs that volunteers can serve through. Many schools also have Communities in Schools staff, social workers, and counselors who know how volunteers can make the greatest impact. Click here for program/curriculum recommendations.

Malcare WordPress Security