In the summer of 2013, West Side Christian Church spearheaded an “extreme school makeover” for McClernand Elementary School. With the help of dozens of local businesses and organizations, $250,000 was invested in interior and exterior improvements to the school. One of the participating churches, Rochester Christian Church, committed to forming a long-term partnership with McClernand, and EPNIA has also come on board to support those efforts.
RCC organized a reading mentoring program in which adult volunteers visit the school on their lunch hour to read with a child. More than 50 adults take part, and test scores show definite improvement among the students. They also host a dinner once a month at Third Presbyterian Church, targeting McClernand families to let them know about activities occurring at the school and in the neighborhood. There are monthly FACE (Family and Community Engagement) Team meetings with the staff and volunteers provide assistance for special events at the school.
RCC and EPNIA host a back to school kickoff that is attended by more than 500 parents and children. Parents and students have the chance to meet their child’s teacher and tour the classroom and then enjoy dinner and activities. They are also offered an opportunity to sign up to receive school supplies in exchange for service to the neighborhood.
A liaison from RCC serves as an associate board member on the EPNIA board of directors because of the strong relationship between the two organizations.