Congregations For Children (C4C) is a state-wide initiative of The United Methodist Church focused on addressing child poverty in North Carolina through the development of focused partnerships between UM churches and public schools in their community. Churches are encouraged to provide support and services to the schools which address three primary areas of focus, as suggested by Dr. June Atkinson, Superintendent of NC’s Department of Public Instruction. Those areas are related to: K-3 Literacy; Basic Needs and Increasing Parent Involvement. Even if your church is already involved in ministry with a school, the C4C model can help enhance what you are already doing and bring it into alignment with the three focus areas.
At Annual Conference in June 2013, Bishop Ward and Western NC Conference Bishop Goodpaster spoke about the tremendous opportunities for churches to be in mission to public schools in their communities. Schools, perhaps more than any other institution, mirror the needs and hopes of every segment of our community. One way that was offered for churches to work together involves partnering with schools in ways that go deeper than offering supplies or food programs. Bishop Goodpaster said, “we seek to build relationships, to listen to what’s happening in the lives of children, teachers, administrators.” The bishops were joined on stage at Annual Conference by Dr. June Atkinson, Superintendent of North Carolina Public Schools and a member of First UMC in Cary. Dr. Atkinson said that the schools and teachers across this state need people to step up and partner with them for the well-being of the children.
Congregations For Children (C4C) is an initiative focused on reflecting the love of Christ in the community by helping children in public schools who are living in poverty. The four areas of focus include:
1. Helping to improve K-3 Literacy rates
2. Helping to meet the Basic Needs of students (food, clothing, supplies etc.)
3. Helping to increase Parental Involvement (and interactions with positive adult role models)
4. Helping to increase awareness of Child Poverty
C4C is a great option for churches looking for ways to increase their outreach to their community/mission field. The C4C model is based on best practices and is designed to set churches up for success and help to avoid common missteps. Even if your church is already involved in public school missions of some sort, C4C can help you to expand and strengthen what you are already doing. Several churches in our district are currently participating with very good results. Churches participating in the C4C initiative receive training, coaching and assistance from the district level. If your church is interested, we can come and give you a presentation to explain what it entails.
Ways To Help
The number and types of ministry services a church can offer to a school varies (depending on the resources of the church & needs of the students) but the following chart offers several common examples:
Click on image to enlarge
NOTE: In addition to the services shown above, C4C trainers provide Poverty Awareness Training to church volunteers and in some cases members of the staff of the school with whom they are partnered.
Training/Coaching Is Available
The Congregations For Children initiative is a process driven model based on best practices. The model is designed to set churches up for success and avoid common missteps. If your church is interested in creating a new or expanding an existing Church / School partnership, contact Heritage District C4C Coordinator, Rev. Rochele Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org), for information on what training and resources are available.
A Message From Bishop Ward
Watch video of Bishop Ward encouraging United Methodist Church’s to support local public schools
If your church is interested in partnering with a public school in your community and you would like information about training and assistance that is available OR you are interested in offering your assistance to this mission focus, please e-mail Rochele at email@example.com
WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students)
WatchDOGS are fathers or father-figures who volunteer for at least one day each year at an official WATCH D.O.G.S. school. During the day, WatchDOGS may read and work on flash cards with students, play at recess, eat lunch with students, watch the school entrances and hallways, assist with traffic flow and any other assigned activities. WatchDOGS provides opportunities for students – some of whom don’t have fathers or other positive male role models in their life – to interact with positive adult male role models while they are at school. WatchDOGS also helps enhance security of school campuses by having extra eyes and ears to monitor the school environment. Many school principals have reported that the mere presence of a WatchDOG dramatically reduces reports of bullying.
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