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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!

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… 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!