Viewing entries in
Catapult

Volunteer Friday #11

Volunteer Friday #11

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Derek!

IMG_20150107_094309_429.jpg

DEREK WHITMIRE

Volunteer Area(s): Set-up Team, Catapult at Byers
 

Why did you choose to volunteer in each of your areas?

Set-up team started several years ago after some very endearing arm twisting from Matt O'Neil. Then I got to know some of the great guys who are there at 7:30 a.m. every Sunday and it feels cool to be a part of the unsung heroes behind the scenes.

I started tutoring at Byers in 2012 shortly after returning from a Watershed trip to Guatemala. That trip forever changed how I viewed generosity and investing in people to glorify God. Catapult is one of the single greatest things we do as a community and I'm so grateful to have met the most amazing family in the process who I now consider to be a part of my family.

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

Last summer my wife and I we're able to purchase a used mini van for the mother of our Byers kids. The generous donations from so many of you at Watershed left me in awe of our community and what God is capable of after a big leap of faith. Taking a 42-year-old mother of seven children to pick up the first vehicle she's ever owned and watching her sign the title with tears in her eyes was easily the best moment yet. 

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be

Enduring.

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte:

18 holes in the morning, all Charlotte sports teams win, then a friends gathering at Cantina with never ending queso.

 

I'D LOVE TO SEE ONE OF OUR BEARDED ALL STARS, JEREMY EDWARDS FEATURED NEXT. HE IS MR. RELIABLE AT ORCHESTRATING THE SET-UP EACH SUNDAY MORNING AND HAS NEVER ONCE YELLED AT ME FOR BEING LATE, SLOW, OR HALF ASLEEP.

Volunteer Friday #10

Volunteer Friday #10

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Evan!

Evan ERWIN

Volunteer Area(s): Greeting Team, Catapult at Byers

Why did you choose to volunteer in each of your areas?

I enjoy helping greet people who visit Watershed and assist in answering any questions or alleviating any concerns. My wife and I live close to Byers and it has been a great opportunity to get involved in our neighborhood in addition to investing in the life of an amazing young student.

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

It has been really fun working with Caleb and watching his ability and confidence grow as we work on his reading and life skills.

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be

Loving.

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte:

Any activity with my wife and friends... 

 

NEXT I'D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE derek WHITmire... HE is an amazing, selfless volunteer who pours into our church and the charlotte community!

The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect

Here at Watershed we often encourage our volunteers to think big picture when it comes to serving in the community. Transformation (whether it be in an individual or in an entire system) rarely occurs overnight, so, in addition to celebrating little victories, we also ask people to consider the potential “ripple effect” of their efforts over the long haul.

Trusting the ripple effect can be challenging at times. We don’t always get to see the impact of our actions, and it takes real faith to believe that our efforts are meaningful even when we don’t have the immediate, tangible evidence to prove it. However, every now and then we do get to catch glimpses.

Natalie’s story begins as the result of a ripple.

“I had some wonderful volunteer tutors when I was a student in CMS,” Natalie remembers. “So I was thankful that I was going to have a chance to pay that forward!”

Two years ago Natalie Smith began volunteering at Walter G. Byers School through Watershed’s Catapult Initiative. She started off at Byers the same way most Catapult volunteers do: she tutored an elementary school student for 30-45 minutes each week. As she continued to show up to the school every Wednesday, she started to get to know a few of the staff members. One of those staff members was the school librarian.

“By the end of the school year I found myself helping out with the first book fair that the school had been able to put on in a number of years,” Natalie recalled. “During that week I was able to meet a number of teachers, and when End-of-Grade Tests (EOGs) came around, they asked if I would help proctor.”

Natalie had no idea when she signed up to help proctor EOGs that she would be paired with a teacher she had so much in common with.

“I was paired with the art teacher, Mrs. Barnes, to administer EOGs,” she said. “Through conversation we realized she actually used to work at the fabric store that my family now owns! We bonded over our shared interest in creativity.”

The chance pairing of the two during testing seemed more like more than just a mere coincidence. The conversations Natalie and Mrs. Barnes had during EOG week stuck with the art teacher, and ripples continued to spread when she approached Natalie with a request. 

“Mrs. Barnes actually approached me with the idea of selling the kids’ art work at our store. She had previously sold a few pieces at another store to earn some extra money for supplies for her classroom, but [that store] was closing and she was hoping we could sell a few pieces here and there.” 

The proposition seemed fantastic to Natalie, but she thought she could take it a step further.

“When she brought me all of the artwork she had, I knew I could do more than just sell a few pieces,” Natalie said.

14650567_3370099656608_4447990724347102822_n.jpg

Natalie turned 26 on November 19th, and about a month before her birthday she began inviting her circle of family and friends to celebrate with her… by purchasing artwork from her favorite elementary school students. Soon her Facebook and Instagram pages were filled with pictures of hand-drawn elephants, owls, cherry trees, and monsters. Her goal was to sell 26 pieces and give all of the proceeds back to the art department at the school. 

“My weekly involvement at Byers has been a beautiful silver lining [in a difficult 2016],” Natalie said. “The greatest birthday present I could think of was convincing the people who love me to give back to the teachers and students who have filled my heart with joy every single week.”

Natalie’s special fondness for Byers probably would have been motivation enough for her to dedicate her birthday to supporting the school, but, on top of her love for the community, she also just so happens to know a little more than the average person about how important artistic and creative opportunities can be for a child.

“I spent years studying the emotional benefits of creative outlets for children and strongly believe that creativity is necessary for any child, but even more so for children who are in high stress situations outside of school,” Natalie explained. “Some low-income schools in CMS have lost their art programs completely due to budget cuts, while the rest are left with extremely limited resources. I want to make sure that the students at Byers are given opportunities to lean into their creative strengths and become producers and admirers of beautiful work.”

When the ripple effects of so many passions and experiences collide at once, there’s no denying that something special is in store. 

“Weaving together my love for students, creativity, and lending a hand to our local schools was such a gift for my heart,” said Natalie.

Not surprisingly, Natalie reached her goal of selling 26 pieces of art, raising $775 for the art department at Byers in the process. All of the money went towards purchasing new art supplies so students can embrace their creative passions and talents more fully.

More than a decade ago Natalie was a CMS student who appreciated the time volunteers spent with her at school. Today she is a 26-year-old woman with a passion for paying it forward to some of her youngest neighbors in Charlotte.

As the ripples continue to spread, it’s anyone’s guess how the students impacted by Natalie’s generosity will grow and go on to touch the lives of others.

Even though her birthday campaign has ended, Natalie still has artwork for sale! All pieces are $15 and proceeds go directly to Byers School. Email natalie.dixon19@gmail.com if you're interested in purchasing any of the pieces below. For more information about how you can get involved with Catapult, Watershed's school partnership initiative, email cedric@watershedcharlotte.com.

 

Volunteer Friday #3

Volunteer Friday #3

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Mary!

MARY SHELBY

Volunteer Area(s): Greenhouse (Evergreens & Redwoods), Catapult (Girls on the Run Coach at Byers)

Why did you choose to volunteer in your areas? 

I always feel more connected to a community when I'm actively participating in it. When I first started coming to Watershed, Greenhouse seemed like the perfect way to do that. Plus we have great kids, who are so much fun to teach! I became involved with Girls on the Run on a whim, after I received an email asking if anyone had any weekday afternoons open. Since becoming a coach 2 1/2 years ago, it has easily become my favorite part of the week. It also opened my eyes to a part of Charlotte that I was ignoring. Being thrown into this new environment has given me a whole new perspective on this city I call home.  

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

My favorite moment probably has been the relationships I've developed as a GOTR coach. I have a couple students who I've coached since 3rd grade, that are now in 5th. It's been a real privilege to get to know these girls and walk beside them as they grow up. I had no idea that I would feel so changed by this experience, and I'm so grateful for it.   

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Generous. I feel like the Watershed community is so generous with their time. I love meeting new people at Watershed and hearing about all the different ways they are either plugged in or giving back to our community. It's really refreshing to hear about all the different ways people are owning our church.  

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

My perfect day in Charlotte would be a sunny fall day, in the 70's, where I would walk my dogs to Freedom Park, meet up with friends to watch the Panthers win, then head to a couple breweries, eat dinner on Sir Ed's patio, and be home in bed with Netflix on by 9.  

 

NEXT TIME I’D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE ADAM DESAUTELS BECAUSE… OVER THE YEARS I'VE BEEN ABLE TO SEE HIM POUR INTO THE KIDS IN GREENHOUSE AND SEE THE IMPACT HE'S HAD ON THEM!

Volunteer Friday #2

Volunteer Friday #2

 

Welcome to Volunteer Friday!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Hannah!

Hannah and her husband, Will

Hannah and her husband, Will

Hannah Rice

Volunteer Area(s): GreenHouse, Catapult

Why did you choose to volunteer in your areas? 

Service is a really important part of how I feel connected to Charlotte. It's so easy to feel disconnected in such a big place and serving allows me to connect more deeply with people. So, serving at Watershed seemed like a great way to get involved and get to know people in our faith community better. I love the controlled chaos of the Diggers classroom and am constantly inspired by their creativity and imagination!  

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - MLK Jr. 

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

One of my favorite moments was when I was helping coach Girls on the Run several years ago. I told a girl that I ran so slow I might as well be walking backwards. The girl looked at me and said... "Ms. Hannah that's a hyperbole, you run just fine!" That's what GOTR is all about - building each other up! To this day I call all sorts of stuff hyperboles when I'm faced with self-doubt or negative talk in my head. Just further proof that I get more than I give when I serve. 

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Embracing

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

First I would have a nice leisurely breakfast at home in the backyard. Then a bike ride to Inner Peaks to do some rock climbing followed by some lunch and a beer at Olde Meck. Then ride to Freedom Park where I would take time to read and take a nap in my hammock. Dinner at Macs Speedshop. Dessert is S'mores on the fire in the backyard. This of course is all taking place on that perfect Charlotte crisp fall day. 

 

Next time I’d like Watershed to feature Mary Shelby because… she is a rockstar! Not only does she lead in Greenhouse but she also coaches girls on the run! Such commitment and she does it all with a smile and positive attitude! She brightens the GreenHouse hall!

Volunteer Friday #1

Volunteer Friday #1

Welcome to our very first edition of Volunteer Friday!

Every other Friday we're going to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed Students, Sunday Teams, CatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week we're kicking it off by breaking the rules... we'd like to introduce you to TWO volunteers instead of just one! Meet Kristy Yetman and Stephanie Costas. Kristy and Stephanie have served in GreenHouse together for EIGHT YEARS. This year they moved up to co-lead the Evergreens Classroom (K-1st Grade) to support GreenHouse's model of small groups and continue deepening relationships with the kids they've grown to love. GreenHouse Director Becky Santoro says, "Kristy and Stephanie have written curriculum for us, continually support families, and embody the mission of GreenHouse so well!" 

Without further ado, meet Kristy and Stephanie!

Kristy (left) and Stephanie with Stephanie's daughters

Kristy (left) and Stephanie with Stephanie's daughters

Kristy Yetman

Volunteer Area(s): Greenhouse Evergreens Team Leader, Bloc Leading, Catapult Tutoring at Byers

Why did you choose to volunteer in GreenHouse?

I remember the adults who poured into my spiritual development as a child and chose to spend time in a classroom teaching us their understanding of the scriptures.  I love being able to foster such an ancient act of passing on what has been learned from the generation before.  

What has been one of your favorite moments as a GreenHouse volunteer?

My favourite moments are when the apprehensive new kids come for the first time and end up not wanting to leave because they had such a great time! :)

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Open

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

Any day I can spend with my husband Des. 

 

Stephanie Costas

Volunteer Area(s): GreenHouse Evergreens Team Leader, Catapult Staff Pal

Why did you choose to volunteer in GreenHouse?

I started volunteering in GH after my first daughter was born.  I wanted my daughters to grow up seeing their dad and me giving of our time to our church community.  It has since become a steady rhythm in our lives.  There are so many adults investing in my kids' lives, and I am willing to invest in other kids' lives as well.  The kids that I get to work with in GH are amazing and so much fun!

What has been one of your favorite moments as a Greenhouse volunteer? 

Oh man!  There is no way I could choose one moment.  Every week there is something that happens... a conversation where a light bulb goes on, a comment that makes me laugh, a new connection formed, or a hug with a kid... all which make serving in Greenhouse filled with lots of favorite moments.

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Big-hearted

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

With my kids or without them?!  The perfect day would start with yoga and a juice, then involve some outdoor time working in the garden, food from Viva Chicken or Luna's Living Kitchen, going to the park with the kids and hubby, and end with laughs and conversation with my family and friends around a campfire. 

 

Next time we'd like see Hannah Rice featured because she has done a awesome job in the Diggers classroom (3-5 year olds) of Greenhouse this past year, and she recently stepped up to fill the Diggers Team Leader role. She also volunteers her time as a Byers tutor!   

 

 

99th Percentile

99th Percentile

Catapult is Watershed's local justice initiative committed to building supportive and encouraging partnerships with nearby schools. 

The 2016-2017 school year has begun and tutoring is fully underway at both of Watershed's CMS partner schools, Walter G. Byers and Shamrock Gardens Elementary. We're convinced that the 30-45 minutes our tutors spend with students each week is a worthwhile investment... but don't just take our word for it! We invited Shamrock Gardens Principal Sarah Reeves back to the Watershed stage last month, and she had some encouraging things to share about the impact of Catapult tutors on her Shamrock scholars last year (video below). 

Principal Reeves highlighted one success story about an English as a Second Language (ESL) scholar. This particular student and his tutor struggled to connect initially due to a challenging language barrier, but with consistency and effort a special relationship was formed. By the end of the school year, that young scholar's reading level had surpassed the 99th percentile in the state, and this year he's been placed in an advanced academic class. His reading level grew four years in the short time he was paired with his Catapult tutor! Principal Reeves attributed part of his growth and success to having a caring adult who showed up each week to invest in his education. 

If you aren't already involved with Catapult, it isn't too late to play a part! Here are some ways you can join Watershed's efforts to support students and educators in our city's schools:

  • Tutoring: Spend 30-45 minutes each week tutoring an elementary-aged student and building a special friendship! No education experience required, schools provide the tutoring material. We’ll work with you to set up a day and time that fits your schedule. Click here to express interest. Byers and Shamrock
  • Mentoring: Help out with Girls on the Run or Right Moves for Youth. Click here to learn more about each program and express interest. Byers Only
  • Staff Support: Become a Staff Pal to an educator, or join an email list to receive information about helping out at staff appreciation events throughout the year. Click here to learn more and get involved. Byers Only

If you have further questions, email Cedric, Watershed's Pastor of Justice & Leadership: cedric@watershedcharlotte.com

It's Time

It's Time

It’s time... To step up. To be a part of the solution. To offer your greatest asset, yourself, and your most valuable commodity, your time.

It’s time... To give 60 of the 10,080 minutes in your week. Less than 1% of your week... to impact 100% of theirs.

It’s time... To let your excuses rest. To increase our presence. To experience the transformation that giving of self can catalyze.

It’s your time. It’s our time. It’s about time.

It’s time.

We’re excited to kick off our EIGHTH YEAR of Catapult, Watershed’s effort to support local schools through tutoring, mentoring, and staff appreciation! This year we’re continuing partnerships with two Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools: Walter G. Byers and Shamrock Gardens Elementary. Want to join this movement of people from our community? Here's how you can get involved:

Tutoring: Spend 30-45 minutes each week tutoring an elementary-aged student and building a special friendship! No education experience required, schools provide the tutoring material. We’ll work with you to set up a day and time that fits your schedule. Click here to express interest. Byers and Shamrock

Mentoring: Help out with Girls on the Run or Right Moves for Youth. Days and times TBD. Click here to learn more about each program and express interest. Byers Only

Staff Support: Become a Staff Pal to an educator, or join an email list to receive information about helping out at staff appreciation events throughout the year. Click here to learn more and get involved. Byers Only

Mother Teresa famously said, "Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you." In the wake of tension and injustice, people often wonder, "What can I possibly do?" Let's take Mother Teresa's words to heart. Let's show the next generation (and those who teach them) that we care, and let's make space for our own hearts to experience transformation in the process. 

There's no better time than now.

Join us?

#itstimecatapult

Reshaping the Future

Reshaping the Future

"It does take a village to raise a child. It is the role of the entire community to uplift this school."

Last Sunday Principal Sarah Reeves from Shamrock Gardens Elementary School came to Watershed's Sunday Gatherings to share about the importance of community support in education (watch the full interview below). Through Catapult, Watershed's local justice initiative, volunteers have been coming alongside the staff and students at Walter G. Byers school for more than seven years. We are so excited to launch this second school partnership with Shamrock!

Our primary focus at Shamrock will be providing reading buddies to scholars who need them. That's right - scholars. It's no accident that the young people at Shamrock are labeled with a word loaded with such potential. The staff wants Shamrock students to know just how much they believe in them, and part of helping scholars internalize that belief is having people from outside the school community reinforce it as well.

On Sunday Principal Reeves shared some sobering statistics with our Watershed community:

"Reading is the achievement gap for our kids. You could fill the NC music factory amphitheater with [CMS 3rd graders] who are below proficient in reading. There is so much research that shows if you don’t get them by the end of 3rd grade, the chance of them becoming proficient really decreases. States look at 4th grade reading proficiency levels to project prison rates. Getting our kids on grade level is a non-negotiable."

Inevitably these stats and figures beg one question: what is the solution?

The solution is layered and complex, but one facet that seems to be moving the needle is matching up struggling readers with one-on-one reading tutors. 85% of the 3rd grade scholars at Shamrock Gardens who started with a reading buddy before October are now on grade level. For just an hour a week, it truly is possible to help reshape the future for a struggling student in this community. 

Watershed's goal is to resource Shamrock Gardens with 20 new reading buddies before the end of March. As a reading buddy, you'd visit your student for 30-45 minutes each week on a consistent day and time. Resources and lessons plans are provided - no education experience necessary!

Thank you, Principal Reeves, for visiting Watershed and providing our community with an opportunity to undermine injustice right in our backyard.  

Would you like more information or are you ready to jump in? Click here to get involved!

Catapult Auction

If you've been around Watershed very long you probably have noticed that we highly value creative expression. But our heartbeat is justice and we've discovered away to blend the two to accomplish something fantastic.

DECORATE YOUR SPACE FOR A GREAT CAUSE! Be part of our FIRST EVER stage elements auction!

ABOUT THE WALL HANGINGS: Have you noticed the custom wall hangings suspended from white branches on stage for this #twelve series? They could be yours! Two custom hand-knotted amalgum of variegated cotton and wool blend threads and yarns suspended from white rope tied onto birchwoodesque wooden branches- purple lights bulbs to backlight the wall hangings included (fixtures not included, but bulbs are!).  Currently they are about 4 feet wide and can be adjusted. The colors vary from black, grays and white to different shades of plum and purple. We purposely have left the length long so it can be customized for YOU! You have to see them in person!

ABOUT THE AUCTION: During this twelve week series we will begin an auction for both of them - the highest bidders take them home (either 2 different bidders or both to one bidder depending on your offers!). They look great on a wall, in a window...they are fashioned in the style of Rachel Miller (designer for Urban Outfitter) wall hangings and can be styled in numerous ways and trimmed to the length you desire! The proceeds from this auction will go IN THEIR ENTIRETY to help our Watershed Justice CATAPULT program serving the students and staff of Walter G. Byers School.

Feel free to inspect them up close before and after our Sunday Gatherings throughout the series and let's make your bare walls or windows beautiful while furthering justice in our Queen City! 

HOW TO BID: You can place a bid for this auction in the comments below. Just state the amount and whether you are bidding on BOTH or just ONE of the wall hangings. The #Twelve series wall hangings will go to the highest bidder(s) on the final week of this series, May 17. 

Please share with your friends (FB, Twitter, Insta) and know that when you place a bid you are not only helping the kids of our city but you're investing in a piece of a transformational series about addiction and recovery for our community. It'll be a storypiece for your home/office/workplace/school etc. and we know you'll enjoy it for years to come. 

Questions? email us!

HAPPY BIDDING!

I'm Thankful for Serving with Catapult Because...

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we asked our Catapult volunteers to reflect on why they are thankful for serving the students and teachers at Byers. Read a few of their responses below! 

I am thankful for serving with Catapult because…

...it reminds me of a beautiful cliche: To the world I may be one person, but to one person I may be the world. It's so easy to feel insignificant with the massive scope of hurting out there. But, if you direct your energy in a concentrated way, it becomes clear what an enormous impact we can have.

 …of my relationship with my student, Alaysha. She and I have worked together for 3 years; she knows about things in my life that only my good friends know. Her mom and I text once in a while and I get photos of Alaysha from her, which make me so happy. We are very comfortable with each other and she makes me feel like what I say and do and stand up for really matter. I am thankful that I know about a portion of our community that some try and brush over!

 …I can pray regularly for a teacher that is working with a special world of children and I can be an encourager in a practical way.

 …I am serving with a group of amazing, giving people who love on our kids in the community.

 …every week when I meet with my student, I am reminded of God’s amazing love and patience for me and that He gives me the strength to give that love and patience in return.

 …it gives me a specific way to connect with Charlotte.

 … I get to create a (hopefully) impactful relationship and help an awesome girl navigate some key years in her life!

 …it matters. Not just to the students and staff, but also to me.

 …selfishly, it makes me feel good. The smiles, the accomplishments and the back and forth with a mischievous young man are just a few of the things that I am so thankful for. 

 …my student, Elijah, is the joy of my week. He's kind, he's smart, he's artistic and talented. He's been learning from me, yet I find that I get to learn from him as well. He is a blessing to my soul.

 …I believe relationships are what ultimately create lasting change. I love seeing the way the relationships built through Catapult impact both the volunteers and the students/teachers so deeply!

“Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:35

Learn more about Catapult or email Ashley if you’re interested in serving!