Second Cimmunity Outreach Team Event (October 2014)

In the second Community Outreach Team event, the impact in our community truly was a team effort. The event, created by a partnership with City Impact, found students, staff and parents pooling efforts to recognize over 160 tutors in nearby schools.

Media Specialist, Anna Rickords, who organized workspace in the media center and coordinated parent volunteers, observed first-hand this teamwork.

“Working on September's COT project was a wonderful experience.  It was amazing to see the Lincoln Lutheran community (students, teachers, students) work side-by-side to bless the tutors in our neighboring public schools,” said Rickords. “The project was a great way to pass along the Lord's encouragement, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ (Matthew 25:21) to those who are helping the youth of our community.”

Here’s some history behind the event. Every week City Impact coordinates adult volunteers to tutor students in four LPS schools: Clinton, Elliot, Hartley and McPhee. Jill Doctor, Impact Reading Center coordinator with City Impact, agreed to work out a unique outreach event with Lincoln Lutheran. She remarked how the tutors are often under-appreciate, but ever so important for students who need help in the classroom.

“When I got the phone call, it was like an answered prayer,” she said.  “The greatest piece of this was the hand-written cards to each volunteer from students.  We feel so loved, and so do our volunteers.”

From there a handful of moms took over. They purchased and organized the materials for “care packages” to be given along with a personalized note of encouragement. Students and adults assembled the packages and added cards during time in AP classes. Each package contained an arrangement of thematic treats and encouraged the tutors to continue their selfless efforts to make a meaningful impact in a child’s life. Below is a quote I read from one of the cards:

“Never stop doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart.”

With the packages delivered to area schools, the City Impact / Lincoln Lutheran partnership recognized the last week of September as “Tutor Appreciation Week.” It is, we hope, the first of many. Both City Impact and Lincoln Lutheran are planning to make this an annual event.

“There is never a wrong time to appreciate each other – especially those who give of themselves for kids,” said parent Sheila Ziems, who hand delivered packages to Clinton Elementary.

For each event this year, a student will prepare a short devotional. This month senior Katie Cook led the devotion, which was inspired by Philippians 2. It focused on the Spirit’s work through our vocations. It emphasized the importance of building relationships with each other and with our neighbors. Near the end of it, she posed this question and concluding thought:

You may be asking “what can we do in such a short time?” Well, not much, if the emphasis is on you. It is all about the Holy Spirit. Praise God that Jesus is still here among us in the person of the Holy Spirit! And, he can use us to show His love to others.

Amen! That Spirit-filled testimony is exactly the sort of outreach that we Christians ought to be preaching. It reminds me of another quote by Francis of Assisi. “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

If you would like to know more about how to get involved with the monthly COT events, please contact Joel Stoltenow. October’s event is in the planning stages. Our community partner is Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska.