In the summer of 2018, I was asked to approach a school about forming a partnership. We had collected school supplies in the past, for no particular school, but wanted to be more connected with our community and more aware of the true needs of a specific school. I approached Josh Sain, the principal at Forest Park Elementary, because I had worked with Mr. Sain during summer school sessions, as a teacher in Kannapolis. Also, Mr. Sain had just been promoted and might welcome some assistance as a new principal.
Of course, since you already know the end of this story, Mr. Sain accepted; in fact, he was thrilled to say the least. Josh said that he had actually just been asking at the system’s Central Office how to go about making some community partnerships. In the very first conversation, we were able to zero in on a specific need – copy paper! That mundane, plain old white paper is used all day, every day, and the school has to purchase it themselves out of their constantly shrinking budget.
Forest Park is a Kindergarten through 5th grade, Title I school on the corner of Little Texas Road and Forest Park Drive in Kannapolis. They have 515 students and about 45 licensed staff members, including the administration, specialists and enrichment teachers. There are also an additional 25 support personnel working in the office, cafeteria and maintenance department.
So far, in addition to reams and reams of copy paper, we have given the students and staff at Forest Park general school supplies at Christmas-time and have been able to provide several kid-sized tables and over 100 new uniform shirts, pants and sweat shirts. Further, Debbie Llewellyn also facilitated three professional development sessions using the Conscious Discipline program provided by the Early Childhood Foundation of Cabarrus County. We provided lunch and books for the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade teachers and teacher assistants who participated. In May, a group of parishioners installed a raised garden and cleaned up the entrance area for an I Love My City project. All of these things were done in discussion with Mr. Sain and were only possible through the time, talent and generous gifts of All Saints’ parishioners.
-Charles McKinley, Senior Warden