EMBRACE SHORELINE SCHOOLS – WHAT IS IT?
Embrace Shoreline schools began with ten churches in 2008 working together to do outside cleanup and landscaping for our Shoreline schools. A steering committee composed of representatives of the churches, school district, PTSA and Shoreline neighborhoods met regularly to coordinate this event. About 300 persons showed up for that spring cleanup. The churches were simply being good neighbors in serving our local schools. This one-day cleanup continued for a few years; but some schools were not able to be involved on the same day.
What evolved from this were partnerships between churches and their nearby local school, through which projects were done for the school by the partner churches according to the need of the school and the ability of the church to supply volunteers. The projects may not only be suitable for youth groups, but also for all ages. The school district has continued to offer financial support to pay for beauty bark and things like that that may be part of a project.
Today we encourage permanent partnerships between churches and schools. We have also given contact information to the churches regarding the school’s PTSA leader, and the counselor or family advocate, as these are resource people who have been very helpful in pointing out needs to the churches. Through the contact with family advocates some churches have been able to supply weekend food to some children who would otherwise not be fed at home on the weekends.
Leadership in the schools and churches change from time to time, which affects these partnerships. That’s why I suggest that this partnership be renegotiated each year before the beginning of the school term. It’s between a principal and a designated contact person from each church. As the relationship matures, both parties feel more comfortable in working together. Churches are naturally interested in blessing their communities and are a great source of volunteers.
To establish a new partnership I suggest a church leader simply make an appointment with the principal of the school they want to partner with. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss HOW OUR CHURCH MAY BECOME A PARTNER WITH THE SCHOOL. In an initial interview to get acquainted the church leader can simply say, “To the extent that we are able to provide volunteers and other resources, are there any special needs or projects you might have that we can do to help the school?” If there are no present projects on the mind of the principal, you might suggest, “Would you please call on us when something does come up where we could assist?”
If there is any question on the part of the principal about church/state issues or proselytizing you can say, “We can assure you that we will do no proselytizing while we are engaged in doing projects at your school.” Since the beginning of this movement there has never been an incident that would raise that challenge to my knowledge.
So, in summary EMBRACE SHORELINE SCHOOLS IS A PERMANENT PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN A CHURCH AND A LOCAL SCHOOL FOR ANY ASSISTANCE THEY CAN PROVIDE. It is a great way to serve and bless your community. If you are interested or have questions please contact me.