Summer is now in full-swing; our kids are thrilled (or bored) with vacation, and we’re all glad this unpredictable and ever-changing school year has ended. We’re always grateful for the teachers, administration, and social workers in our local schools, and this year more than ever before.
They Are Major World-Changers!
Our internship season has also come to a close, and former intern, Faith Borowy, put together this story about our School Partners before completing her internship, “The zoom [meetings] I had with our school partners were incredible! Much of our congregation knows that we have School Partners, but I want to highlight the people who are within the schools and their stories because they are major world-changers!”
A True Privilege
Our partnership with local schools is a true privilege. It is an honor to be in community with so many incredible people. Although we are only highlighting three women, they represent all the remarkable people who have invested in the students. The value of school has become clear this year, and as it draws to a close, we want to celebrate those who have been on the front lines and behind the scenes.
A Beautiful Friendship Began To Form
Charita Jackson, secretary at Pontiac High School, is one of the first smiling faces to greet students each morning. As has been the case for many years, her love for Pontiac extends beyond the school walls. Charita started a chain reaction of giving when she began to adopt students for Christmas. Over time, families and other staff members became involved resulting in the year when every student left for Christmas break with a wrapped gift.
“It’s not just me. I am simply one of the vessels God is using,” Jackson said.
In addition to the Christmas gifts, Charita organizes an annual coat drive. This event originated with a call from Wanda, a member of a nearby church. The moment Charita answered the phone, a beautiful friendship began to form. For years, the church partnered with the school by way of a coat drive, and when Wanda, now 91 years old, was no longer able to continue, Charita took the leadership role. She has received a grant to purchase the coats and is thus able to offer this as a beautiful example of loving her community.
“I want for your kids the same that I want for mine,” stated Jackson.
Impacting Even Just One Child
Emily Martin, a recent graduate, is a social worker at Seminole Elementary. During the pandemic, her days were often spent connecting with students and families via phone calls. As students began to return to the building, she was able to form relationships and be a constant presence for children during an uncertain year.
“I never expected to feel so much pride and love for Mount Clemens families so soon,” said Martin.
When asked about her biggest dream, Emily said she knows her purpose is to love these children. Therefore, if she can impact even just one child, her dream will have been fulfilled.
Little Things Make The Biggest Difference
Shirley Monk, a native of the Mount Clemens area, is the social worker for the rest of the district. Shirley is deeply rooted in and loves her community. Her own adoption as a child sparked her twenty-one-year career as a social worker.
Shirley desires a healthy life – emotionally, mentally, and physically – for each student. Stocked with school supplies, clothing, food, and toiletries for the students, her office is a safe space for connection and conversation.
“It’s the little things that make the biggest difference,” Monk stated.
Shirley says her greatest joy is listening to her students’ life stories. As she is a frequent presence in the cafeteria and classrooms, she is able to form trusting relationships with the children. Some of these even last well beyond their time in school. She was recently contacted by a former student, now an adult, to thank her for her kindness. Shirley’s work has been a blessing to many lives.
Charita, Emily, and Shirley are just a few examples of the many people who have made a difference over the past year. We are grateful for every person who invested in the next generation this year – whether it was a teacher who revised countless lesson plans to make them work virtually, a cafeteria worker who provided healthy meals, or a custodial staff who kept the buildings clean and safe, THANK YOU!
Under our Move Out Network, Kensington Church partners with nine local schools to support staff and students and show them the love of Jesus in practical ways, like academic support, guest readers, encouragement for staff, and assembling enrichment materials, and more. At the end of every summer, we also collect donations for school supplies for local students so that every child can start strong in the fall. Find out more at kensingtonchurch.org/schoolpartners.