• Cultivating Character and Competence // Changing Communities and Culture

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  • Case Study: How One Church Adopted a Neighborhood Public School

    [Ed. note: the following case study originally appeared as a sidebar to "20/20 Vision for Schools: Transforming Public Education within a Single Generation of Students," an article from the January 2008 Tri-State Voice.]
    In July 1996, thirteen youths from Abounding Grace Ministries established Generation Xcel as a neighborhood youth center. Despite drawing 75%-80% of its students from the public elementary and middle schools across the street, Xcel’s attempts to formalize a relationship with the school “pretty much failed beyond the fact that we shared so many students and prayed consistently for the school.” MS 34 by DuroThen in 2006, Xcel co-founder Jonathan Del Rio and former Xcel program director Dorothy Rivera joined the middle school’s faculty as dean and a math teacher. Jonathan, who is the youth pastor at AGM, had applied for a Teaching Fellowship specifically with the goal of being placed in the school where he already knew dozens of students. Six months later, AGM received a Paint the Town grant, and for the first time had something tangible to offer the school. All summer, PTT volunteers helped beautify the building’s interior. Then in July, six artists immortalized everything that Xcel represents in the school’s playground on four walls and six column surfaces – ten paintings in all. Collectively, the murals communicate the mission, values, and opportunities that Xcel empowers kids to realize. AGM’s adopt-a-school experiment came full circle in September, when MS 34 invited Xcel to present the meaning behind the murals at the first middle school assembly ever conducted by an outside group. Four of the artists and two former students shared about the power of creativity in pursuing one’s dreams.

    Related

    + Blogs tagged "Abounding Grace" + Blogs tagged "Generation Xcel" + Photos: the slideshow below chronicles the relationship between Abounding Grace and PS/MS 34, including the mural project and subsequent activities on campus.