One of the most frequently asked questions we hear at Mission Central is “where do things go?” We receive photos with happy faces from many locations, often holding some item sent from our warehouse, but we don’t usually personally witness how our gifts impact recipients.
Recently, four members of Mission Central’s Board of Directors, the Executive Director, York HUB coordinator, and I toured Alexander D. Goode K-8 School in York, PA to see first-hand what difference some recent gifts have made. Goode is a neighborhood school with 748 students, 600 who have been served in some way by Mission Central. All the children walk to school. Many are bilingual and others are learning English for the first time. Mission Central has partnered with Goode and Communities in Schools to respond to the developing needs of youngsters in the community. Like most schools, Goode teachers use personal financial resources to fill the gap between needs of their students and the available budget funds. The requests from the school were simple, as were our gifts.
Goode received 107 activity kits, one case of M & Ms, 1 power strip, 3 laptops, 25 three ring binders, 6 cases of duffle bags, 4 cases of workbooks, one small desk fan, 230 USB wall chargers and 219 ear buds.
The reading specialist received ear buds. Each pair has a child’s name attached to it and when they come into the reading room, they attach their ear buds to a tablet and begin to read. The tablet allows them to touch a word they don’t understand. Can you imagine the cacophony of sounds that would emerge from many children trying to read without ear buds? One of the home room teachers told us she had 34 children in her class. At the beginning of the school year, all were reading below grade level. On a recent test, 12 scored above grade level. At the end of the year, each child will take their ear buds home.
The Communities in Schools Site Coordinator led our tour. He is an energetic young man who is like a Pied Piper. Children in classrooms and in the hall came up and wanted to talk with him. It was delightful to watch his interaction with the youngsters, offering encouragement and direction.
In the music room more thank you notes awaited us, along with musical gifts. The fourth graders all played a recorder and the song was sight read from the projector. It was followed by a singing of their PRIDE song [Prepared, Respect, Integrity, Determined, Engaged]. The song was on key and delivered with huge smiles on their faces.
One of the new programs at Goode School is an after-school event that rewards good behavior, completion of homework, neat and tidy appearance, and on time attendance. After two weeks’ compliance with all the requirements, with their primary teacher and parent’s approval, they are invited to play ball, jump rope, and play other games after school in the gym. However, there is a difference to this program. The regular lights are turned off, and they play and dance to LED and black lights. Each youngster is able to select one clean song that they want played during the hour and it fills the space. The person organizing and staffing this event is the school police officer. It has made a huge difference, especially in his interaction with the students in times of difficulty.
We came back to Mission Central with joy filling our hearts. Every room we entered and every person we met thanked us for our gifts. Community in Schools is doing great work at Goode and we were privileged to witness it and share it with you.
Ruth Ward, Coordinator of Education
Footnote: As we were leaving the school, we saw a huge mural. On it were the four chaplains who died after giving their life vests to sailors on the USS Dorchester. Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, PhD, for whom the school is named, was one of the four.