Thurgood Marshall Cougar Corner project.
“It all started with an email in an inbox,” said Angela Worley, academic coordinator for student engagement for the Dayton Public Schools (DPS). “I saw John Heading’s email along with a clip from a news story on WDTN about Serve Tour Dayton. Me being community minded, I thought, let’s see what he says.”
Worley works with and approves groups coming into DPS, so she set up a meeting with Heading and other DPS officials to discuss Serve Tour Dayton, and she liked what she heard. She emailed all DPS buildings and invited principals to submit projects for the event.
“Initially the principals were skeptical because they had not had an offer like this before,” said Heading. “This was the first time they had an organization approach them asking what they needed.” After Heading challenged them to focus on a project that could be effective in their schools, the principals shared the real needs in their facilities.
I would hope the kids see that someone cares about them, and someone loves them...
E.J. Brown Middle School is a DPS school in crisis. When the 2021-2022 school year ended, most of their staff members resigned, including administrators. This year is a rebuilding time for the school with fresh staff members on board.
Principal Dionne McDole had one goal with the project she submitted – building back school pride and community in the student body. Her plan included printing t-shirts with the school logo and displaying them as incentives for students to demonstrate good behavior and citizenship to earn them. Serve Tour Dayton supplied a commercial glass cabinet and t-shirts for each student, as well as a school logo quarter zip for each staff member.
Worley hopes these efforts will have a positive impact on students. “I would hope the kids see that someone cares about them, and someone loves them and took time on a Saturday to do something for them. Seed has been planted and it may take ten years, but hopefully we will receive a return on this project.”
Monica Lamb, principal of Thurgood Marshall High School in DPS submitted a project for Serve Tour Dayton. Lamb also asked for a project that would impact the daily lives of her students. “The story of the day was seeing all the volunteers from all walks of life come in and help put the Cougar Closet up for our students. The group of individuals that helped us are ready to help us for the long- haul. This project was a dream that I have carried for many years and to see it come to pass really made me know that God is ALWAYS right on time!!”
Now that the doors are open to helping local schools, churches are needed to step up and continue the ministry. “Three of the DPS schools are open to partnerships with Southern Baptist churches,” said Heading. One of the things a church partner could do is to encourage the school staff by becoming an extra set of hands and feet as they do a difficult job.”
If your church is interested in adopting one of these schools and potentially making a difference in the lives of DPS students while opening the door to the gospel, please email Dr. John A. Heading at email@example.com.
Volunteers fold t-shirts for students at EJ Brown Middle School.
EJ Brown Middle School Project