Community partnerships — outside and inside of school

Three years ago, Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) Middle School, in Dayton, Ohio, formed a community partnership with Westminster Presbyterian Church.

“This has proven to be one of our strongest partnerships, so far,” Brittany Lewis, the school’s City Connects Coordinator, says.

Twice a year, Westminster sponsors Done in a Day, an opportunity for church members and friends to “to spend a Saturday working with other agencies and non-profit ministries in our community,” the church’s website explains.

Volunteers organized DECA’s Student Resource Closets, where students can go to get needed items. Volunteers washed clothes with the washer and dryer that Westminster donated, and they organized the clothes by size and gender.

“We are overjoyed by this partnership with Westminster,” Lewis says.

Because of the tornado that recently hit Dayton, DECA is also drawing on the resources of its own community to help families at school. The school launched a day of service to provide food to families. This included launching a dry food pantry at DECA Middle Schools’ sister school, DECA Prep, a K-4 elementary school.

“Coordinators secure resources ahead of time and in the nick of time,” Mary Walsh, City Connect’s executive director, says. “That’s what makes them so effective.”

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