It’s been a hot topic since the separation of church and state, established by the U.S. constitution. How do we show Christ to students, teachers and administration when the law prevents us from doing so? Inviting Jesus into the classroom goes beyond reciting scripture or singing in worship. What if we had the opportunity to alter one person’s life in a significant way just by showing up? Whether it’s helping a student find their identity through art, or showing a teacher their infinite worth and impact, our School Partners program is changing lives in our community. Hear from Kensington volunteers who are creating a ripple effect of impact in a classroom and school district.
Linda Sinacola, Party Planner & Superhero
Because of my work schedule, I volunteer with School Partners for holidays. I work with two kindergarten classes by planning parties! It all began with Valentine’s Day: my girls baked cookies and I brought them into the classes to be decorated along with a craft. Honestly, 40 five-year-olds left me with a migraine and the thought that I have to go back! On St. Patrick’s Day we had bowls of Lucky Charms and made crafts. For the end of year, I put on a Superhero party. At the start, I recruited my daughters to be Batgirl and Supergirl. Then my stepdaughter heard and joined in as Wonder Woman, then her husband said he’d come along as Superman, and finally my husband agreed to come as Batman! When the principal asked us to go to the cafeteria we were mobbed like rockstars! Screaming, laughing, hugging, the children’s reaction was amazing! We spent the day playing games and serving them
superman ice cream cones. Then we moved on to the students with special needs and took pictures with them and served them ice cream. My family and I LOVED this day as much as the students! The teacher has told me many times what a treat this is for these kids. While delivering Thanksgiving baskets with Kensington, I entered many homes in and realized their need. It made me want to do more…so I throw parties to create memories! I would love help too – join me?
Dianne Bell, Classroom Helper & Door Decorator
I volunteer Monday mornings at Owen Elementary School in Pontiac for Mrs. Kate Callaghan’s first grade. I sharpen pencils, make copies, help kids stay on task as they do their morning work, and work one-on-one or with small groups using flash cards and beginning reading books. I also look for opportunities to be an encouragement to the teacher and occasionally surprise her with an encouraging note. She has thanked me every single time I’ve come. She says it is the highlight of her Mondays. The other first-grade teacher told me that she wishes she had a Kensington volunteer just like me!
One morning when I arrived, Kate looked particularly stressed. All the teachers had to decorate their classroom doors for Black History Month. The deadline was that day and Kate had barely started. She asked if I would help. I had a few students at a time help me with the project. By the end of the morning, it was finished. Guess what? Her door won first prize!
Kate was happy and relieved and the kids and I had a blast “decorating.” I think the thing that has surprised me the most is what God has done in my own life. I have past elementary teaching experience but felt like I failed and left the teaching profession. To now have the chance to encourage and help another teacher has healed my heart. God can use our past failures and turn them into something beautiful for His glory! I encourage everyone to make themselves available and watch God work! Regardless of your skill level, there’s a teacher waiting for your help. Teachers practically do cartwheels when someone volunteers!
Anne Wilden, Art Project Coordinator & Reading Support
I been involved in School Partners for several years. I brought in art projects when there was no art class for students – like mosaics and sun catchers. The students love the projects we’ve done and really like seeing them up in the school. It’s so much fun to see their faces light up when they recognize their work! It’s definitely gratifying to see the kids’ excitement, and I also know that it does make a difference – even if it isn’t so evident. I led an all-school art project for each of our Pontiac elementary schools during a time of redistricting to create a bond across all students. Last semester, a few friends and I started a reading program for 5th and 6th graders during lunch at Owen Elementary. The reading program allowed us to get to know the kids over the four months we did it. We sometimes had 15 kids willing to come during their lunch hour to read spoke volumes! Being in the schools has made me realize how important it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. There’s so much opportunity and need – I’m excited to be a part of the solution, and grateful to Kensington for making it so easy to do. It’s so much fun to get to do some really fun projects with some incredible kids. How blessed am I??!!
Consider the ways you, your family, small group, or business could volunteer in one of our 10 partner schools: in a classroom, school library, with Kaleo Kids, or by providing hospitality for staff, encouraging notes, or praying for a school. For more information, please contact us at [email protected].