My former teacher friends have been dropping off supplies for the school where I am chaplain. They hear my stories of need and they remember what it was like when they were in the classroom. Generous women. My computer/office room is beginning to look like an Office Depot. I found these suggestions for those who want to help a neighborhood school but may not have someone like me in their circle of friends who can make suggestions.
Here are five tips to get you started on getting involved with your local schools.
- Donate Supplies – Teachers often end up spending money out of pocket on school supplies and classroom needs. Ask a local teacher or principal for a list of needed supplies, then invite your neighbors, members of your Bible Study, or co-workers to chip in to fill in the gaps of the school’s needs. This is how my retired teacher friends have stepped up.
- Appreciate Teachers and Staff – Take time to recognize the important work of your neighborhood teachers and staff. Consider bringing fresh fruit or gift cards into the staff room. A handwritten note of kind words will go a long way to uplift and encourage those who serve your neighborhood kids. I would also suggest occasionally taking goodies to the teacher lounge.
- Show Up and Support – Attend Friday night football games to cheer on your local team or listen to your young neighbors at the school band concert. Both students and teachers appreciate a full, supportive audience to see the results of their hard work. I recommend this if you know a student at the school.
- Pray for Schools – Take the time to pray for your local schools. Pray these places would be a source of positive influence for students in your neighborhood. Consider regularly joining with others in prayer for schools that contribute to the fabric of your community and equip children to achieve and thrive.
- Form a Long Term Partnership – If you have the time and commitment, a great way to make an impact is to be consistent and form a long term partnership. Pay attention to what the school needs and be flexible and willing to help. This is sort of what I have done as school chaplain, but it could take many forms.
- Bonus Tip! Remember Your Role – As a community member, your role is to support the priorities of the school, rather than set your own agenda. Make sure the school, administration, teachers, students, and families take center stage. Your relationship with the school will deepen as you uplift their story and give them the credit for their investment and hard work.