Serving Our Neighbors

Wes CrawfordCliffNotes, Frontpage News

Today’s guest post is from our Worship Pastor, Wes Crawford.

Hey Christ Church,

As the start of the school year draws near I wanted to make sure you knew about a volunteer opportunity in our Downtown East Side neighborhood that would be both substantially helpful for our neighbors and deeply rewarding for you. The Neighborhood Engagement Team has looked for ways to make the neighborhood in which our building is situated glad that Christ Church is here. One of the most significant partners we have found is Communities in Schools, which facilitates deep-dive opportunities to impact students at Zavala Elementary School (at 3rd St. and Robert T. Martinez Jr. St.—just down the street from our building).

Cheryl Kaufman and I have been involved this past school year, each as a mentor to one student during their lunch hour, and we have absolutely loved doing it. In Cheryl’s words,

Wow. I can’t believe I get the opportunity to hang out with my Zavala Elementary School student every week during the school year. We only have about 35 minutes during her lunch break, but enough time for her to discuss her family, friends, and most importantly, her dog while she eats or while we make art or play games! Making slime is her favorite activity. We meet in an area that has all the art supplies and resources a child could need or want. And the CIS staff are there to help, too. I feel especially blessed that my student lives in Santa Rita public housing, a place that is close to my heart and to Christ Church. The children and their parents have to request to have a mentor. How amazing it is to be invited into this special relationship for such a small investment of about 30 minutes, once a week. There are not enough mentors right now, but I pray that Christ Church members will be able to volunteer to step into these relationships. What a gift it has been to me, for such a small investment of time.

There is quite a bit of flexibility on times, and there are other ways that you can get involved besides mentoring; tutoring, reading buddy, after school programs. Christ Church parishioners have been involved in multiple ways this past year (including wiping tables in the cafeteria and pedaling the winners of the Reading Rally around the block in a pedicab!).

If you’d like to get involved, simply fill out this form on the Communities in Schools of Central Texas website, and let them know that you’re interested in Zavala Elementary. They have a training for new volunteers coming up the last week of August, and then will also do them weekly after the first week of September. Email me (wes@christchurchofaustin.org) if I can answer any questions for you or help you get connected in a specific way. How great would it be if we came to be known as great, invested neighbors who love and serve faithfully and sacrificially?

Peace,
Wes