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.”
As the school year draws to a close, City Connects Coordinators across the country are helping studentsprepare for summer, connecting them to services and opportunities that will help them succeed when school isn’t in session.
For, Asha Quattrocchi, a City Connects Coordinator at the Cold Spring School in Indianapolis, Ind., this means sharing information and making connections.
Quattrocchi went with two other coordinators to a summer camp fair. They gathered information on camps that offer arts, dance, sports, STEM, and academics programs. Quattrocchi brought this information back to her school and shared it at family night, a monthly event.
She followed up with parents to see if they’d chosen a camp and to ask if they needed any help signing their children up.
“The biggest obstacle is transportation,” Quattrocchi explains. To address this, she’s helping parents to connect with each other so they can carpool. Another challenge is cost, so Quattrocchi is connecting families with organizations that offer scholarships and asking other organizations if they can lower their fees. Continue reading →