50 Ways to Engage Local Schools from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Looking for a way to get involved or make a difference in your local school community? Take a look at 50 Ways to Engage Local Schools.  Many congregations find that reaching out to their local schools is an important way to serve children and their families and strengthen ties with the broader community.

In addition, contact The Reverend Susan Heath with any questions and to help you get plugged in at 803-771-7800 x 108 or [email protected].

Reading Matters

Faith leaders and congregations who have partnered with Richland School District One are taking steps to address the critical issue of literacy. Building on a multi-denominational program begun in January 2015 by the SC Bishops’ Public Education Initiative, we will continue to partner tutors with children in first and second grades. Children are identified by their teachers as students whose reading skills will be improved by the extra attention given by tutors.  The commitment is for one hour per week during the school year. Tutoring will increase the children’s ability to read. We believe this will cultivate their life-long love of reading.

Mentor Upstate

Mentor Upstate promotes the development of mentoring programs in schools and after school programs in upstate South Carolina and beyond, by recruiting and training mentors, providing resources and support to mentors, and enlisting community involvement. Their goal is to support as many children as possible through positive, real one-on-one relationships.

Mentor Upstate’s program was developed from the mentoring program at the Frazee Centeran afterschool, preschool and summer program dedicated to supporting under-resourced children in downtown Greenville.  In 2010, the Frazee Center began to match up their students with adult volunteers who visited the children one day each week. As these relationships developed, Frazee staff  saw that both mentors and mentees were enthusiastic about their experiences and saw positive changes in each child’s behavior, academic performance and overall well being.

Due to the success of Frazee’s program and knowledge that many more children across the upstate would benefit from a positive, one-on-one relationship with an adult, the Frazee staff designed a simple program for schools and launched Mentor Upstate in 2013.