Whether our schools will open for in-person classes or virtual classes, I’m wondering if there is anything our congregations can do to help.
I know that school systems have regulations and license requirements, but this might be a great opportunity to offer support to our parents, teachers, and students. I just don’t know how those opportunities might play out.
When I traveled to Lebanon in 2017, I visited schools established by the local churches to serve Syrian refugee children. The Syrian children didn’t speak English (which was required in Lebanese schools) and some of them were illiterate in their own language. The Presbyterian Church in Minyara, Lebanon bought a garage that looked like an old Jiffy Lube business with three bays and some offices that were turned into classrooms. Our group visited this school and witnessed lessons being taught with music and art. “Physical Education” class was actually a brief dance party kicked off when one of the teachers would yell “Dance Party!” and everybody got out of their desks and broke into dance in the garage bays while music played.
The teachers were “regular church people” who had a heart for these children who – by night – slept in plastic tents in a camp. During the day, they could be in school where there was heat in the winter and a hot meal for lunch.
The context is different here in the U.S. as we endure this pandemic situation. But I wonder what our churches, synagogues, and mosques could do to help.
Again, I don’t have specific ideas. But do you? Please share.
Image of Dance Party Time (i.e. Physical Education Class) at the refugee school in Minyara, Lebanon in 2017. Read more about these efforts by The National Evangelical Synod (Presbyterian) of Syria and Lebanon here.