Several weeks ago, I walked into a first-grade classroom, excited about getting to know 26 enthusiastic kids and anxious to help them with reading. It didn’t take long for me to be reminded why volunteering with beginning readers is so rewarding.
On my first day in a classroom this year, I began working with students to see how many sight words they knew. A few of the kids did pretty well, and I could tell they had someone at home who had been working with them. There was a confidence and pride in their accomplishments. But it became clear after just an hour in the classroom that many of them needed some extra help and encouragement.
One of the greatest joys of being a part of Every Neighborhood Partnership is the opportunity I have to meet some amazing people. I would like to introduce you to Kristin, a high school student who is giving back and inviting her friends and classmates at Bullard High to do the same!
Fitness and running have always been a focus for ENP as we engage with our kids on our school campuses during the year. We’ve had running clubs at Saturday Sports, running clubs during lunch recess and we’ve had ENP volunteers serve as cross country coaches at our schools as well.
This year, we’ve had two community partners help ENP in two unique ways.
If there is anything that has become apparent in the latest national and political season, it is that we are a divided nation, politically and racially.
If you don’t trust me, just get on Facebook. Geez. The infighting, the name-calling – the distrust is clear. How are we supposed to change our neighborhood, city, nation or world if we think everyone else is the problem?
As we look for solutions, you would think the church of Jesus Christ would be an example of civility and unity, but sadly it isn’t.
Recent research shows 86% of congregations are made up of one predominant racial group. That may not be surprising, but what was to me is that most churchgoers were content with the ethnic status quo in an increasingly diverse world. We are fine being with people who are like us and who like us.
andrewfeilUs vs. Them: The Need for Unity in the Church
Imagine living in a home that doesn’t have any books much less a book shelf. Mom loves and works hard for you, but has little to give after her 2nd part time job ends at 8pm. Did I mention that mom doesn’t speak English? She wants to help you with your homework, but can’t read the words on the page. She only finished 4th grade in Mexico so she can’t help. This situation and many others like it play out every day in our schools.
Fresno Unified is made up of just over 74,000 kids. Over 16,000 of them are English Learners and 86% are living in poverty.
You have probably heard the short catchphrase, “Bloom where you are planted!” The phrase is meant to encourage us to dig deep into the areas where we live, work and play. But have we ever stopped to question the premise? Have we ever asked ourselves, “Where should I plant myself?”
andrewfeilBloom Where You’re Planted – Or Maybe Uproot Yourself
When people ask me where I am from, I pause, unsure which place I would call home. I have moved enough times that I have never felt rooted, and I have come to be content, enjoying my own company and taking comfort in God’s permanence. Before my internship at ENP, I would have said that I would leave the Central Valley as soon as I graduated from Fresno State. I have grown comfortable in my transience; getting involved in many different things, meeting many different people, and looking forward to my next change. I have grown to fear commitment.
For the past 5 years, these ladies have been working with 1st & 2nd grade children at Addams Elementary with children who are struggling with letter sounds or just need a little extra help getting caught up with the rest of their class. They are making an impact in the lives of these kids! Most (not all) are retired teachers who are doing what their “teacher hearts” love to do . . . help kids learn!