The following brief video segment about summer learning loss inspires and motivates our churches to create ways to supplement learning opportunities for our lower-income public school children during the summer months when they are not involved in daily, planned, organized instruction. Sending children home for the summer with donated new and gently used age-appropriate books for them to read; hosting short-term reading camps at church or at school; continuing to serve as reading buddies and reading tutors in person or virtually; encouraging and hosting weekly public library visits — all of these and many more creative ways to keep children learning during the summer will help to close the learning gap based on the economic status of our children’s families. Watch this video and share this message with others. Let’s continue to truly be Congregations for Children all year long.
Congregations for Children
Congregations 4 Children in the Western NC Conference of The UMC, Western NC CAN (Child Advocacy Network), and NC Child is hosting a virtual event, “Faith into Action: Advocating for Children in NC,” on May 6 from 1 – 2 pm.
The event will include:
- an overview and explanation of legislative process in NC;
- current status and needs regarding funding for child and family programs; and
- steps to activate congregations and community partners.
You are invited to the unveiling of the merger of NCCUMC’s two laity-led and clergy-supported ministries focused on supporting our public schools – Congregations for Children (C4C) and United Methodist Advocates for Public Schools (UMAPS). To emphasize their natural relationship with each other, they are now housed together within the updated C4C website. In addition to the three historic areas of focus for C4C (promoting K-3 literacy, providing basic needs for low-income school children, and encouraging church volunteers to serve as caring adult mentors) we have incorporated UMAPS as the fourth focus area – advocating for public education. UMAPS has its own unique web page to begin to educate congregations about public school issues and then mobilize them to advocate for public education in the public square.
Check out our new website today!
In August 2020, Elaine Lilliston, Fairway District C4C Coordinator, suggested that we address the growing digital divide that was becoming more apparent daily as public school students were being required to participate in on-line learning due to school closures in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. She proposed that we encourage local churches throughout the conference to apply for mini-grants for their C4C partnerships to encourage innovation in offering opportunities to support and enhance on-line learning for our public school children in partnership with local churches.
These “C4C Community Connectivity Mini-Grants” would be funded by C4C with a September 30 application deadline to encourage prompt action on an immediate need. A user-friendly online application process was developed promptly by Derek Leek, NCCUMC Director of Communications, and was advertised widely throughout the conference.
A subcommittee of the NCCUMC C4C Committee assessed every application and provided helpful feedback to encourage successful applications. In just two months, eleven churches and two NCCUMC organizations that work directly with public school children received over $9,000.00 to enhance during- and after-school programs that provide safe and supportive learning spaces equipped with sufficient internet access.
We will be sharing success stories of these grant recipients in the coming months with the goal that other local churches will be inspired to replicate or adapt a model that best fits their own C4C public school partnership.
Typically, when a church family commits to becoming a Congregations for Children (C4C) Partner with a local public school, a list of service possibilities follows. How can our church help these children and teachers? How can we show them the God we love?
We often miss what these relationships can do for our churches and volunteers! We miss the opportunities for us to see God in them.
When Gayle Midyette, one of the Sound District C4C Coordinators showed up at the local hospital for surgery, her partner school family showed up for her!
Staff and parents from Oaks Road Elementary School in Craven County, met their coordinator from Garber UMC before sunrise in the parking lot to pray and wish her well. Relationships developed through our C4C partnerships, change lives…theirs and ours.
Find out how you can partner with a local public school by contacting NCCUMC Director of Congregations for Children, David Rockefeller, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article written by Kim Rice Smith
A recent letter from David Rockefeller, the Conference Director of C4C/UMAPS to District C4C Coordinators, is a great reminder to all of us to make the holistic welfare of ALL children a priority.
“I have spent the morning reading article after article from a variety of reliable news and public education sources that all paint a bleak picture of the future for funding of public schools in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic and the economic impact it has had on employment figures. With tax revenues taking an almost unprecedented hit, state public school administrative agencies, local public school systems, and individual public schools are grappling with ways to maintain personnel levels and to adequately serve the increased needs of students as a result of this pandemic. More needs, less funding at both the state and local levels.
The commitment of support for our public schools by Congregations for Children is needed now more than ever in its seven year history. Teachers and administrators need to know that their communities are behind them and are eager to be partners in this anxious time. Students and their families need to know that they are not being abandoned in their time of need
Now is the time for churches to redouble their efforts to support their local public schools, concentrating on our three major areas of focus: K-3 literacy, basic needs, and supportive and caring adults for all children. I encourage you to spread the word to your local church coordinators to “keep the main thing the main thing” and focus on those three areas of focus in this unusual time of social distancing. Books, food, clothing, caring notes and cards, reading and tutoring via Zoom, Facetime, or other virtual platforms — whatever it takes to let children and school personnel know that we care.
Let’s share the load with our public school teachers and administrators, offering more than thoughts and prayers — although those are needed, too. As always, finding out what the school needs, as opposed to telling them what we will do for them, is the first and most critical step in building lasting relationships. Then let’s deliver on our promises. I am grateful for your commitment to C4C and for being the hands and feet of Christ in this ministry to our public schools.”
Please contact David at email@example.com if you’d like more information about how to serve.