New Relationships for Elim Adults

May 23, 2013

by Bob Stine, Director of Ministry Development
Last August when we had a team of adults distribute 700 school kits at Havlicek Elementary School in Berwyn, I was approached by a teacher from their special education classes, Linda Vander Naald, that said she would be happy for us to bring a team to her class.  Linda and another teacher, Lynn LoMonaco, arranged for us to come and do a Mother’s Day craft project together.
As we arrived, I could see the apprehension on the faces of both our adults and their students.  Lynn asked each of the students to introduce themselves and say something that they really like doing and our adults followed suit.  Lynn then matched each one of our team with 1, 2, or 3 of her students who were assigned the responsibility to show our adults what to do.  What happened next was truly amazing!
Stacey was paired with two girls, Denise and Therese, from their Student Council (I believe both were 5th graders) and they chatted together the whole time.  Stacey was almost in tears getting on the bus as we left because these two girls begged her to stay longer.  Melissa was paired one-on-one with Audrey and I would describe her as the most angelic 5th grader I’ve ever met.  Compassion poured out of Melissa and her smile was magnetic…she is truly a gift from God!   Linda told me as we left that Melissa commented on how grateful she was to get to know Audrey.  Another boy paired with Harvey after finishing their project pulled out a Star Wars book and read aloud to Harvey.  Tom and Erin were each paired with 3 students and at first worked very independently from each other but by the end of our time they were totally engaged with each other laughing together.  Whenever one of our adults needed to go to the washroom or a water fountain, one of the students immediately volunteered to walk down the hall with them.  These kids were just incredibly gracious and hospitable and made us all feel so welcome.
Lynn was so excited she said she wanted to have us back before school end.  Nancy, the Havlicek school principal, said she’d love to arrange to bring this class down to Elim as well.  It was an extremely uplifting time and definitely causes me to want to see if we can build similar relationships with other schools.  If you need more info, let me know.   

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