Will you be a ‘U’ in this commUnity?

Pam Dudding-Burch Contributing writer

CCPS Adopt School seminar Mar 2017

Is your desire to increase community involvement in Craig County? Do you feel the more that Craig County residents assist their students within the community the better the relationships would be with the student and parents/guardians?

Craig County Public Schools recently attended a meeting in Salem, at the Fellowship Church where a seminar on community involvement with students was addressed in a different manner. The goal was to bring people back into the schools to help mentor the students as well as assist the school system in possible tangible needs.

It is called the National Church ‘Adopt-a-School’ Initiative. Therefore, this particular all-day seminar on Friday, March 24, was directed to the church community. All of the churches in Craig County were invited to attend as well as representatives of Craig County Public Schools.

Dr. Tony Evans, Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Texas, started the idea of ‘Adopting a School’ in his church and it has become a wonderful success over the last few years. He now teaches the idea across the United States.

Pastor Bill Fuller at Fellowship Church joined the program and had experienced its success in Salem and so offered to host the seminar for the local areas. Approximately 120 persons attended from area churches.

Though there was a $75.00-per-person cost, four churches sent a total of seven representatives from Craig. Jeanette Warwick, Craig County School Superintendent and Diana Bayne, Benefits Coordinator attended from CCPS. “We are hoping that the word will spread and other churches will join the School Adoption program when they hear of it,” Jeanette Warwick said.

Dr. Bill Collins, Vice President of The Urban Alternative, began the meeting with some staggering statistics in the U.S.;

*75 percent of all prisoners are high school dropouts

*High school dropouts are ineligible for 86 percent of jobs

*51 percent of all public kids live in poverty.

He added, “This represents today’s America and our culture is in trouble, regardless how we try to mask it.”

He quoted a ‘word from the wise’ on Legacy; “If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.”

Collins added the words of wisdom from the book of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not depart from it.” He then challenged the audience to think of someone in their lives who had made an impact on them.

The second speaker was Dr. Charles Wolford, an associate Pastor with the program whose heart’s desire was to ‘kick start’ people’s ideas of what they as individuals and as churches could do. “You have to be available to scratch where people itch!” he shared. ”The monkey-see, monkey-do programs do not always work.”

He added that all communities are different in their specific needs and that the Superintendent, teachers and staff know exactly where they have ‘holes’ where one can fit in. Wolford strongly suggested that the school system didn’t need a church to just show up one time and then leave until the next year.

Specific suggestions for churches to help were;

*Encouraging teachers

*Supporting alternative education options

*Volunteering at your local schools

*Working for National Education reform

*Working with the local School Board for reform

*Helping local schools with fund-raising.

Six Core Principles of School Adoption were shared which are;

*No Agenda – We initiate service to the schools to serve, not as an avenue for proselytizing.

*Humility – We recognize the expertise of school staff, and come alongside to fill in school-identified needs and gaps. This means we will submit our plans to your needs and calendars.

*Excellence -We are people of our word. We will under-promise and over-deliver!

*Commitment – We believe that adopting organizations need to be committed to the long-term needs of the schools they serve, so we are in this for the long haul.

*Serving Together – We will be present with the schools we serve by attending some school functions. We believe that there is power in community.

*Meeting Needs -We desire to serve our adopted schools by meeting practical needs at a school service day annually or as needed.

Much information was given of the ‘whys’ for which churches believe they are being held back. Wolford talked of ‘The Moses Discussion’where God asked him, “What is in your hand?” Then Wolford suggested that each individual church ask themselves the same, suggesting that if everyone did the ‘little’ that was in their hands, the ‘lot’ would get done.

Wolford added, “Your area schools have already identified their needs! All you have to do now is to hitch your wagon to them!” He went into depth about the social instability many students face in today’s world and introduced ‘The Turn-Around Agenda’ which is a social outreach to rebuild communities from the inside out.

Details were given to the attendees on exactly how to do every step of the Adoption planning. It seemed that no stone was left uncovered and questions were answered with words of experience and knowledge.

Handouts, papers, packets and two books “One Church Under God” and “One Nation Under God,” both written by Tony Evans, were included in the packets to take from the seminar. A jump drive copy of the videos played were also included so each church could take the information back to their congregation.

Lunch was designed so that the representatives from the individual schools could sit with the church members who attended. Discussion seemed endless as ideas criss-crossed from person to person and table to table. Many ‘adoption’ ideas were put into motion from Craig County that very afternoon.

Superintendent Warwick shared that she truly hopes the program brings a new face to CCPS. “It’s everyone working together for our kids,” she said. The church attendees agreed that they are ‘our’ kids of Craig County and hope to be a future ‘hands-on’ people.

“The school system is no longer looking for a pat on the back these days!” Wolford shared. “They need you and your one-on-one attention to the students and the school.”


“The school system is no longer looking for a pat on the back these days!” Wolford shared. “They need you and your one-on-one attention to the students and the school.”

Warwick and the local staff and teachers will be drawing up a ‘list’ of needs and suggestions for commUnity members to consider becoming involved in. Some mentioned already are; reading in a classroom, mentoring students with reading or writing needs, being a hall monitor, volunteering in the dining room to help open kids milk cartons or cut up an apple.

“These may seem simple to many, but to us, we could use your help!” Warwick shared. “With the constraints on our budget, it is sometimes difficult to fix everything that needs attention.”

Dr. Evans shared the simple truth of the program.  “The mission of rebuilding communities intentionally starts with the basic foundational truth—what a man thinks, he becomes,” he stated. ” A person’s behavior is often dictated by his or her thoughts.”

The simple reasoning seems easy to follow. If one can; Change a thought – you change a life. Changed lives then transform families. Transformed families change communities and restored communities change our nation! So, the question remains, will you be the U in this commUnity of Craig to help the local students excel in life?

more recommended stories