Starting The School Year Off Right
If your community is like mine, we are ALREADY getting ready for the start of another school year!
Which is just crazy to think about. It feels like summer just started.
Now while I am a fan of the "balanced-school schedule" or "year-round school" (which I'll address in a future blog post), the sentimental part of me hates seeing the summer be about 2.5 seconds long for most students. As a child, I lived for summer breaks.
As adults, however, we normally don't get a real summer break do we?
But that does not mean that we can't make the most of the academic calendar as we seek to impact our communities for Christ.
The non-profit I currently serve at is preparing for the start of school with our "Back 2 School Blast" this Sunday afternoon. We will celebrate a great summer with over 200 students (K-12) and their families with food, games, new shoes and school supplies, along with a presentation of the songs, skits, and skills they learned this summer.
We are highlighting a great summer and seeking to set up our students for a successful school year - all wrapped up in one fun event.
And while this particular event is rather large in scale, I believe we each can do something to impact our neighbors as the school year starts for our children, neighbors, and communities.
The start of new "chapters" in life is a great opportunity for attempting new events, initiatives, and time-investments.
Here are a few ideas of ways you (along with your family, friends, and/or church) can impact your community with the start of the new school year in the coming weeks:
- Start Tutoring: Invest in the life of one student in your local community through joining a tutoring initiative. Join through a local non-profit or a specific school and commit to trying out tutoring for one year. Make the decision to invest in the life of one student over multiple months through academic assistance, conversations, and relationship building. Tutoring could be more aptly named "academic-focused mentoring." Invest in a life and change someone's world. (And if your local school doesn't have a tutoring program in existence, start a local chapter of Whiz Kids mentoring!)
- Adopt A Classroom/School: Gather together some friends and adopt a classroom or school by committing to invest through gifts and volunteerism. On a class level, you can ask a teacher for a "wish list" for supplies for his class and bless him through purchasing some (or all!) of those items. You can also bring in lunch occasionally for the teacher, throw parties for the class, and volunteer as chaperones on field trips. On a school level, do the same types of "blessings" on a larger scale. Throw appreciation parties for the teachers, bring in coffee occasionally, and volunteer for school events.
- Equip A Student: Help a student succeed in the upcoming school year by providing her with a backpack and school supplies. You can do this through an organization, school, church, or as a family. This is most beneficial when you are able to do this with students whom you can invest in long-term (through tutoring or mentoring) or who are connected with a local non-profit/church.
- Throw A Party: Nothing brings people together like fun and food. And you can combine these two powerful elements through a community party celebrating a great summer and anticipating a wonderful school year. Have a cookout with sidewalk chalk, games, and some bags of "school essentials" (i.e. paper, pencils, pens, erasers, folders, etc.) for every student who joins the party. This can be as big or as small as you want it to be. Just have a good time and invite your neighbors. The added bonus with this option is that you can help nurture more community in your neighborhood as well.
What are you doing this year to invest in your community as the new school year starts? Or what have you done/seen done in the past to live out Jesus' compassion in neighborhoods?
And what do you think of the options above? Have you tried any of them before?
Comment below and continue the conversation!