Park Elementary is a downtown school in a beautiful historic building with a newer addition. The student body has a 96% poverty rate. Our fabulous Christian education director, Libby, thinks of a zillion ways to involve as many members of our congregation with Park Elementary as possible!
We tutor and mentor in the classrooms, help with enrollment, send treats for the teachers, help the nurse and office staff, and generally try to meet (or exceed) the requests and needs of the students and staff. Every week 30-40 of us are in the building, hanging with kids and teachers, and re-entering the world of elementary education! Did I mention that most of the kids at Park are bi-lingual? Almost 90% of the students are Spanish/English speakers...I'm so envious! Below are some smiling 4th graders I tutored at Park.
Earlier this week, we hosted the annual school Christmas Program at our church. The sanctuary was overflowing with students, staff and families...what a blessing!
So...when our Sunday School class was looking for a family to help at Christmas, we asked the Park social worker for a suggestion. This year we're excited to help a lovely family with 6 kids, including one special needs child. After some cajoling, we got a small list from them, and the pile of presents is growing, along with my Christmas spirit...at MY house! We've taken their minimal list and expanded it!
I'm the coordinator for this year's effort, so it's looking a bit like Santa's workshop in my piano room. I am piling the presents in here, so they don't get mixed up with our family gifts.
Today is the big day for us to deliver the gifts...it's SO fun to play Santa every year! This morning I went to Sam's Club with Libby and we shopped for food staples....GIANT bags of rice and beans, laundry soap, TP, soap, cooking oil, etc. My little sleigh (car) was full!
Later a few friends showed up to help me load gifts (I needed another car trunk!) and we delivered to our family. After we stashed all the gifts under the tree and into the frig, we took a picture with the smiling Mom and her darling 2 year old daughter.
As my friend Deb and I rode home, we chatted about our experience. We both agreed it was the highlight of our busy holiday season...and the real spirit of the season...giving! It was a delight to help this family and make their holiday season merrier. What a blessing!