Monday, May 19, 2008

School Adoption--More Info!

After much prayer and a couple of dead-ends, we've found the local elementary school we want to adopt. McNamara Elementary is located at 8714 McAvoy, very close to Westbury. The school is around fifty years old. Three years ago, they had around 200 students who were evacuees from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, of which around 75 still remain. In addition, many students are children of undocumented immigrants. Click here to learn more about the school. Last week, I met with principal Tiffany Chenier and Mr. Porter Renfro, who works with Communities In Schools on the McNamara campus. Both told me that the idea of Westbury adopting their school was an answer to much prayer. I left with a strong confirmation that this is indeed the place God has in mind for us to begin impacting our community in a new way. I wish we could start now! But first things first...

The first week of June, a small group of us will head to Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas to attend training in their National Church Adopt-a-School Initiative. The folks at OCBF have been working in public schools since 1985, and I have no doubt we'll learn a great deal from them. Pray for our training that week, and pray that God would call out a person or persons to serve as lay coordinators for the school adoption.

In the meantime, here are some ways you can look forward to participating in this new ministry for us:

1. Pray. Mrs. Chenier said that prayer was her school's biggest need. We'll come up with ways that folks at WBC can serve as prayer partners in this ministry. Remember, if all you can do is pray, you can do a lot!

2. Serve as a tutor or mentor. Adult involvement is a huge need at McNamara. Some kids need help with homework. Others just need an adult to take an interest in them.

3. Help beautify the campus. Mrs. Chenier showed me areas of the campus that desperately need the touch of a skilled landscaper. A more attractive campus can make such a difference in the morale of students and teachers.

As we get involved in this campus, in the lives of teachers and students, we will learn about other needs, which will lead to more ministry opportunities. My dream is that we would be a blessing to this school and to everyone associated with it. I hope this transforms us into a more outwardly focused church that is truly An Open Door to Transform our World. With God on our side, why not dream big?


Anonymous said...

Jeff--I am so pleased that movement is being made with this mission. I would definitely like to serve as a tutor and I would say to anyone that might be interested in being a tutor, it is amazing the response you can get from a child by just providing them some respectful attention. Since volunteering as a tutor for several years now, I've located free resources available so that you don't have to "reinvent the wheel" when working with the kids. Will continue praying.

David Dennard said...

I attended McNamara (it was called Richmond then) from 1963-1970, back when Mrs. McNamara was the school principal. She was a wonderful principal and we all had a healthy respect for her. This was during the days of corporal punishment and word on the street was that she had an electric paddle in her office. My mom was the school nurse, so I was never able to pull the old math-test "I don't feel good" routine. It's extra special to think of going back there to serve the Lord. Sign me up for tutoring, landscaping or whatever.

Jeff Berger said...

Kristy and David,

You're both making my day! Thanks for your willingness. I am already pumped about this, and seeing good people eager to jump on board just fires me up even more. Although, David, I find it suspicious that you claim to have only "heard" about Mrs. McNamara's paddle.