UMC Connection-Ideas for Partnerships
Floris United Methodist Church and Hutchison Elementary School in Herndon, Virginia have a collaborative relationship that spans more than a decade. In that time, the church and school have worked together on multiple programs and projects to serve the students and staff of the school. Programs include the PALS Program, which was developed to meet the individual needs of students in the areas of mentorship, math, and reading and sought to connect willing adults with students who would most benefit from the support. Camp Hutchison is a four week summer enrichment camp for 100 students held at the school and led by volunteers. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are held for adults at Hutchison during two sessions each year, creating a positive learning environment for our immigrant neighbors and creating opportunities for cultural understanding. Floris UMC’s Help Hungry Kids ministry is a weekend meal program that serves 125 students each week with supplemental food. http://www.florisumc.org/main-hutchison
“Bless the School” volunteers at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas invest in the lives of 1,800 children at their six partner schools. They serve as tutors or classroom buddies, tutor for a Summer Reading Program, give school supplies and uniforms. During the summer members took part in painting, laying carpet, organizing closets, building shelves, cleaning, and grounds maintenance. Members also traveled with the bookmobile to two locations in the community to hand out reading level appropriate books to children.
What began as an Adopt-a-School program for Foundry UMC in Houston, TX, exploded into a vision for a multi-layered initiative to deliver life changing options to economically, spiritually and relationally disadvantaged children in the Cypress Fairbanks area. They formed a 501c3 organization called Cy-Hope resulting in adopting two local schools, opening several HOPE CENTERS (large spaces for afternoon Bible study, homework, crafts, English classes, cooking, sports and other activities to provide meaningful interaction with adults and other children), and sponsoring a backpack partnership program with the Food Bank and a faith-based “Wild Life” program in middle schools. They sponsored 65 students to camp away from home for the first time in their lives, leveraged company “matches” for scholarship money for students to take dual credit college classes while in high school (students can get culinary, cosmetology and welding certifications to help enhance job opportunities), and hosted a community breakfast for 250 which facilitated an additional 19 schools being adopted. http://www.txcumc.org/newsdetail/37282
The North Carolina United Methodist Conference cast a vision of congregations connecting in ministry with schools across their state. They’re calling the project “Congregations for Children” with a focus on three key areas: Helping to improve K-3 Literacy rates …Helping to meet the Basic Needs of students (food, clothing, supplies etc.)…Helping to increase Parental Involvement.
The South Carolina Conference hosts “The Million Book Effort” to collect 1,000,000 (1 Million) new, age-appropriate books for pre-school and elementary school children. Because they know that illiteracy and poverty often go hand-in-hand, they hope to transform the lives of children in South Carolina by equipping them with the tools they need to grow into educated adults.
First UMC of Hurst, TX participates in a partnership with Bellaire and Harrison Lane elementary schools and Hurst Junior High. Seventy percent of the students at Bellaire Elementary fall below the poverty level. FUMC Hurst provides a tutor/mentoring program, school supplies, spring and fall clothing drives, winter coat drive, and youth-sponsored Christmas shopping spree. Church members also volunteer by reading with at-risk students, helping pack food into backpacks to give to hungry children for the weekends. FUMCH has provided mentors for middle school students, support for field trips, and undertook a “hoodie” drive to supply warm clothing during winter months.
For the 450 students at Carolina Beach Elementary School, their first gift on Christmas morning was a book. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Carolina Beach, NC and the school teamed up to help Santa give every child a wrapped book for Christmas. The church donated more than 100 books and $800 to purchase more.
Members of Walnut Grove United Methodist Church in Hurdle Mills, N.C. decided to replace their usual Angel Tree with an Apple Tree instead. They asked local teachers what supplies they most needed this school year, cut out paper apples with these requests printed on them and hung the apples from a tree near their sanctuary. As congregants picked the apples and delivered the supplies, they were helping fill a void in that school district.
Central UMC in Meridian, MS began a Study Buddy program with a local middle school. In the year before the partnership, students only earned 2,400 points for reading in the school’s Accelerated Reader program, where students read books from an approved list and then take tests on the books. In the year after the partnership began, students earned 24,000 points in the same program. For the first time in years, the school met its language arts objectives for the school year.
Additionally, discipline greatly improved with disciplinary referrals decreasing 70 percent.