Season of Service: Why I Serve
During Lent we are focusing on A Season of Service. Each week on the blog several Church Street members will share why they serve in a particular area of ministry and how you can get involved. Today's post comes from Nathan Rowell.
Wesley House was founded in 1907 by the women of Church Street to care for the children of workers at nearby Brookside Mill. After school, the children of the women who worked there would congregate under a large tree waiting on their mothers, the older children looking after the younger.
107 years later, Wesley House is a national mission of United Methodist Women, one of only 100 in the country. But it is still in the same neighborhood, taking care of children.
I was drawn to serve at Wesley House because I believe in the importance of education. My parents were both professional educators, and I have personally benefited from several caring teachers in my life.
Although Wesley House has many programs, its core has always been the education of inner city youth. Wesley House is not an after school care center. It is an educational program, designed to help children from very poor families succeed in school and life.
Each day after school, the kids arrive, have a snack and devotion, and then are off to the classroom where their first priority is completing their homework. They work with trained counselors on an after-school curriculum custom designed to compliment their school curriculum. Teachers in the 11 schools Wesley House draws from are in regular contact with Wesley House, and individual lesson plans are created. Counselors and our program director are always discussing each participant?s academic success with their school teachers. Often times, our program director meets with the teachers because the parents cannot.
During the full time summer program, each day contains 2.5 hours of education in math, reading, science and social studies, so the educational process does not stop. Also each day, 30 minutes are dedicated to ?Drop Everything and Read.? Afternoon field trips are designed to coordinate with the lessons learned that week.
I volunteer at Wesley House because these academic programs work. In 2013, Wesley House received the Tennessee Education Association?s Friend of Education Award.
Last semester, 74% of the students improved their grades, and 56% received an A in behavior.
I serve at Wesley House because I believe in the importance of education, and I see the results that Wesley House gets. I invite you to learn more about Wesley House and see if this might be a place for you to serve. We will have an open house at our new location (1719 Reynolds Street) on Saturday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.