Mr. Berk, one of the long-term teachers at Cleveland Elementary, showed up for Big Saturday, vacuum cleaner in hand, to work alongside other volunteers to give his classroom a deep cleaning. “Neighborhood Church has been a blessing to this school,” he said at the end of the day. “Between the reading volunteers and Big Saturday projects, the church has made a tremendous difference in the quality of our education and days spent at Cleveland. Without your help, teachers would have to spend a week alone in July cleaning floors and behind shelves, giving the rooms a washing the PUSD can no longer afford to provide. And now for the first time, my room will be really clean at Back-To-School night for parents to see.”
The church’s Big Saturday event at Cleveland Elementary brought in a remarkable 160 volunteers who spruced up the campus with paint, cleaned classrooms and restrooms and planted a huge school garden. This was our 4th year joining in with Cleveland teachers and staff, students, and their families and assorted community members to help keep the school a vibrant and cheerful place to learn. The garden has been divided into plots for classrooms which the students will tend while their teachers incorporate the how and why of gardening into the math and science curriculum. As an added perk for their toils, the edible food from the garden will be shared among the students to take home to their families.
Besides Big Saturday, a baker’s dozen of church volunteers are in our 5th year of weekly school-year visits to the Cleveland classrooms, helping individual students improve reading skills through various reading programs. While the students and teachers welcome the added attention, it is the volunteers who consistently report back on the joys of befriending and assisting lively kids who appear eager for their time and conversations.
Thank you to the many of you who worked diligently for Big Saturday and who show up weekly at Cleveland Elementary with smiles and reading books. It is all of you who create the blessing between the lives we share in community and with each other.
Beth Colcord, Social Justice Coordinator