After an unusual year, a church in Suffolk has resumed its annual back-to-school giving.
West End Baptist Church donates school supplies at the start of each school year. The church did this in several ways, including donating the supplies to ForKids, donating supplies to the school, and donating a backpack to the church.
This year, at the suggestion of a member, the church wanted to do something different than in the past for this year’s giving. Judy Saunders, the giveaway organizer, came up with the idea of adopting a teacher to donate supplies and cash donations directly.
“Our church is very dedicated to our community and to the schools in Suffolk,” said Reverend Dale Peterson, pastor of West End Baptist Church. “It was a great idea to adopt a professor to put a face to procurement and money raising. She can personally deliver the supplies wherever she sees the need.
The church chose Caren Bueshi at Elephant’s Fork Elementary, who had previously taught with Saunders. Bueshi is the school’s Title I reading specialist. She sits down with students who are struggling to read to give them extra help so they can catch up with their peers.
“It was a pleasure for us to adopt Caren Bueshi as our foster teacher,” Saunders said. “She is very deserving, and we wanted to recognize her efforts and the positive difference she makes in the lives of so many children. Reading and books are essential for a child’s language development. Caren gives these children the greatest gift: the ability to read.
With these supplies, Bueshi plans to create a store where students can earn tickets for getting engaged and well-behaved to redeem the supplies. This will give students pride in winning while recognizing and rewarding positive behavior.
“I look forward to setting up the store for students to earn and spend their won tickets,” Bueshi said. “It will also teach them life skills like saving and spending as well as delayed gratification.”
According to the school principal, Dana Cherry Bilby, this goes hand in hand with one of Suffolk Public School’s goals of building relationships in the community. It is acts like this from members of the community who may personally have no connection to the schools that show Suffolk educators that their community cares and supports them.
“It’s all about relationships,” Bilby said.
With this year’s success, West End Baptist looks forward to adopting more teachers in the years to come.