Whether you're part of a congregation of 50 or 500 you can reach out to children and families as a new academic year begins. Schools have a micro-social system that resembles your community. The best way to find out what's going on in your community is to volunteer.
What can you do? Anything the school needs: playground attendants, help with teacher move-in day, offer to paint, clean up the playground, playground extreme makeover, mentoring, hotline volunteer or homework help.
Churches are finding a variety of ways to connect with their local schools. Visit your own local school, talk with the principal and/or teachers to learn how your church can partner with them. Here are some churches that have taken the leap in a number of ways:
Miles City UMC in Montana: Lunch On Us – Every Wed. people of the church prepare and serve a free lunch to high school kids, and anyone else that shows up. The church is near the school. The meal is served at the church. Church: (406) 874-3502
Evangelical UMC (Billings) in Montana: The congregation has ‘adopted’ Broadwater Elementary which is across the street from the church. They have raised money for library books, ‘adopted’ teachers, etc. Contact them at email@example.com, (406) 259-1897, or www.actyourfaith.org.
Christ UMC (Great Falls) in Montana: The congregation has begun a partnership with Lincoln Elementary School. They began by meeting with the principal. They volunteer in classrooms, and are beginning a twice a year clothes-swap at the school, which will be held during parent-teacher conferences. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (406) 454-3851 www.christumcgf.org
Cody UMC in Wyoming: The people of Cody UMC have started a relationship with Eastside Elementary School, three blocks away from the church. Several Cody UMC people, "Friends of Eastside", are reading with the children in the school every week. They also host a back-to-school breakfast in the fall for Eastside staff, teachers, administrators, and support staff. www.codyumc.com
Buffalo UMC in Wyoming fills backpacks with school supplies for children at Meadowlark School.
A "How to Establish a Partnership with a Local School" from the Great Plains.