HERE to see what Louie and the Serra Messa Christian Fellowship did on the 19th.
Pastor Juarez had an immediate goal of answering the question, "If out church disappeared, would anyone in the community miss us?" It was a noble and sobering question. Then, setting out to make sure that question could be answered in a "yes!", Pastor Juarez met the local principal to see if the school could use some help. His hypotheses was that the school might need maintenance on the building or some painting done, but what he got was a wonderful opportunity to address one of the greatest needs in schools today.
The Principal was eager to get help, but the shortage was not in maintenance. Rather, she felt that the church's partnership could be best served by supporting a summer reading program. In order to encourage students to read, the church was asked to provide awards for the program.Pastor Juarez involved the congregation and local community in the rummage sale project, gathering donated items and encouraging the community to come out and support the event.
By the end of the day, Serra Mesa Christian Fellowship had raised $700 for the summer reading program. There are, in my opinion, several take-aways from this event:
1. Public schools aren't as afraid to work with you as you might think. Pastors can partner with local schools. Maybe not all the time, maybe not exactly the way you think, but it's possible.
2. Churches can directly affect the achievement gap. Of course the impact of Serra Mesa Christian Fellowship won't be felt until the students know about the awards and have earned them, but motivating students to read during a summer reading program can directly affect the ability of a student to move from "basic" to "proficient" or "advanced." The school gets pretty good marks in English Language Arts as it is (60% at or above proficient, compared to 53% statewide), but is clearly better in math as a whole (72% at or above proficient). The school gets an 8 rating on Great Schools website, yet Serra Mesa Christian Fellowship is getting a great opportunity to help push those numbers up.
I've received several questions to my previous posts about how churches can help schools close the achievement gap. Serra Mesa Christian Fellowship shows one way it can be done. One of the biggest problems with schools is a lack of resources, according to data I've seen. That seems to mirror what Pastor Juarez found at Jones Elementary School. Furthermore, the church is now directly benefiting the reading program, which should help more students move up from basic to proficient and above!
Well done Serra Mesa Christian Fellowship!