Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | JUNE/JULY 2018 13 the world today, it's gratifying to see people coming together to do something that's right for others," said Brentwood principal John Weida. "The impact that the First Presbyterian volunteers coming into our classrooms has on our children is phenomenal." First Presbyterian's Invest in Children program continues to grow, with now more than 30 volunteers helping the schoolchildren. another retiree in the congregation who volunteers. "Whether helping a second-grader increase his or her word recognition and vocabulary or encouraging a hyperactive kinder- gartner to focus on a science project, I know that I'm a small part of a vast network — teachers, adminis- trators and parents — who desire that our children grow strong in learning." First Presbyterian's Diane Bittner often assists the art teacher, preparing projects that will be used during class time so the teacher will have more time to work with students. She said the children are all appreciative. Another volunteer, Drew Stuart, is enthusiastically welcomed by a class of first-graders when he comes each week. Twice in the last year he has presented a class lesson, as well as working with students independently. One lesson was on the difference between bats and birds; the other dealt with invention and innovation. First Presbyterian's role at Brentwood has expanded beyond the work of the volunteers. Through the generosity of its members, a mountain of school supplies was made available to the students, and Brentwood's Reading Center was equipped with new furni- ture, through a contribution from First Presbyterian's portion of the Pentecost Offering. A memorable gathering at Christmastime enabled congrega- tion members to celebrate shared blessings with students and their families. Blessing Trees adorned the corridors of the church for several weeks in early December, allowing members to commit to gifts of toys, clothing and grocery gift cards. Then at a dinner celebration with a happy mix of children, parents, volunteers, teachers and church members, games were played, carols sung, the Christmas story told and gifts distributed. "With so much that is wrong in "Invest in Children represents the best of our Christian faith," said Bell. "It's a creative effort to serve the children, parents and teachers of a nearby school. I join with the committee in thanking God for the presence of the Holy Spirit, guiding us through this mission." Mary Elle Hunter is a freelance writer and a member of First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Florida. Endorsed Mover for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Stevens is proud to deliver over 110 years of family-owned moving expertise and quality services to Presbyterian Church (USA) Members, Clergy and Employees and Educators: • Discounted pricing • Top-rated drivers and crews • Customized moving packages • Stevens Home Protection Kit™ • Free no-obligation move estimate • Single point-of-contact Trust the Stevens Worldwide Van Lines USDOT 72029 CALL VICKI BIERLEIN: 800.248.8313 Clergy Move Center ™ T h e w a y t o m o v e KAY DUNN Bette Lou Cookson is just one of the many volunteers from First Presbyterian giving their time to tutor children at Brentwood Elementary School.

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