News release from the Associated Churches:
$174,000 Worth of Goods Gifted to Local Schools through Rising Stars
Markers, Mittens, and Mentor Hours Donated in 2012
(February 28, 2013) – In only it’s third year of operation, Rising Stars of Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County is making a tremendous impact in local elementary schools. In 2012, volunteer hours and in-kind donations valued at $174,466 were distributed to Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) and East Allen Community Schools (EACS). Over 50 churches and organizations collected 12,837 tangible need items estimated at a value of $109,295. During the same time, Rising Stars amassed 2,319 volunteers giving 8,600 hours of service worth $65,171.
Rising Stars is a program where elementary school representatives are contacted by Community Connectors of Associated Churches on a regular basis to asses the needs of the children, families, and staff of the schools. Then churches are contacted to match their mission with the needs of the schools.
Volunteers from Covenant United Methodist Church helped every student of Lincoln Elementary School choose their own gloves and hats.
School administration is grateful for growing partnership as Get W. Nichols, Director of Elementary Administration of FWCS states, “School, church and community must work harmoniously in order for our children to have a healthy environment to live and learn. We are blessed to have Associated Churches and the Rising Stars program work with FWCS to support our families with their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. We extend heartfelt gratitude to our Fort Wayne partners who care about our children and follow their convictions with action.”
“We knew our work with the schools was on the rise, but the final numbers even surprised us. We are so proud of all the churches in our community who have made it their mission to partner with the schools.” says Sarah Deans Adams, Director of Educational Ministry of Associated Churches.
Covenant United Methodist Church’s Rising Star co-chair, Barb Hering, reports that the partnership they have with Lincoln Elementary School has been a fantastic experience. “Covenant’s congregation, kids through those 90 years old, have found ways to help. Some are interested in supporting the teachers through monthly treats, breakfasts & dinners, helping teachers prepare items for class, and working in the library. Others are interested in supporting and encouraging the students through tutoring and a hat and glove give-away at Christmas. Our Operation Outreach on a Saturday in April brought 50 people to the school who worked side-by-side with staff members doing a variety of jobs from spreading mulch in the playground to making copies and cleaning. And most importantly, we have people who pray for the school, staff, and students. Reaching out to Lincoln Elementary School is one way Covenant is spreading the love of Jesus Christ,” explained Hering.
Many churches have helped in similar ways by collecting a wide array of items, most often including school supplies, socks, underwear, tissues, hand sanitizer, dry erase markers, books, gift cards and snacks. Volunteers assist with mentoring, tutoring, serving meals at parenting classes, and staff appreciation. Additional churches also spend time in prayer for all schools in their area including public, private, charter, and home schools.
In a short time, Rising Stars has united school and church communities in unique and refreshing ways. Adams proudly shares, “We’ve become a reliable resource on how to respect the church and state relationship. We work within the vision of the churches and the standards of the schools.”
Goals for 2013 include donating $250,000 worth of volunteer time and tangible goods along with having every elementary school in FWCS and EACS partnered with at least one church.
About Associated Churches:
Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County was founded in 1944 and includes 135 churches as members. Its primary ministries include the Neighborhood Food Network, A Baby’s Closet, Rising Stars, and Military Families. Rising Stars was formed in 2010 and currently matches 38 elementary schools with over 50 churches and organizations benefitting over 10,000 families. For more information, visit .