Longridge Community Ministry
A public school and a church. In today’s society, it might seem an unlikely partnership, but that is exactly the partnership that God created in the Fall of 2016 between Hope and Longridge Elementary School here in the Greece community. A partnership that saw the implementation of a Reading Club, Chess Club, Gardening Club, Basketball Camp, providing snacks for their Tutoring Program and an invitation to be part of Longridge Schools Wellness Fair.
Longridge is an elementary school in the Greece community, whose demographics include a high percentage of low-income families. In fact, the percentage of students who receive free or reduced lunch is currently at 73%.
When we met with the staff at Longridge in the Fall of 2015, we met staff who truly pours into their students, and desires the very best for them in all aspects of their lives. When we asked what they would like to see available for their students, after-school activities were at the top of the list. After-school activities can contribute to a student’s sense of belonging, and can have a positive impact on both attendance and grades. And, they are just plain fun. So that’s where we began.
None of us knew what to expect, but we serve a God “Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” so we stepped out expectantly. What we saw next was an overwhelming response from the students who desired to participate in these clubs. In fact, considerably more signed up, than the clubs were able to accommodate. Praise Him!
The response from students, staff and Hope volunteers was overwhelmingly positive, and it was evident that all involved were greatly blessed. Planning for next year has already begun, and the existing clubs will continue, as well as some additional opportunities to partner with the school. Our hope is that this relationship will last for years and decades to come.
In the book of Acts, Jesus says “You will be My witnesses…” What a great privilege we have been given to shine His light and be His witnesses, as we come alongside the students and staff at Longridge school. He has opened up a door for us that only He could open, to be His hands and feet, to the students at Longridge, the staff and hopefully one day the parents.