27 Jul It Starts with One
by Summer Wilson, Volunteer Storyteller
What if, by changing the physical landscape of a school, the spiritual landscape changed too? When Tawnya Cranmore began volunteering at her kids’ school, she had no idea the reach her efforts would have in that school community.
Tawnya started by serving in the classroom when her oldest daughter was in first grade. Soon after, she became a PTA member, joining committees and working with parents, teachers, and school staff alike, also taking on what would become a five-year job of designing and putting together the annual yearbook.
During these years Tawnya built relationships with teachers, students, and staff, establishing trust and respect and a love for the school that was obvious to everyone there. It came as no surprise, then, when Northshore began Community Serve Day, that Tawnya was eager to gather a team and serve at her neighborhood school.
Unfortunately, their school wasn’t within the predetermined service area for Community Serve Day, so it wasn’t officially scheduled to take part in the event.
That didn’t stop Tawnya or her family, however, who says, “We needed to serve our community!”
She saw the school community being blessed by the church, and because of what she saw, she reached out.
Tawnya met with the principal of the school and asked if she and others from Northshore Community Church could come and clean up the landscape and help around the grounds before the school year began. The principal loved the idea. Tawnya gathered PTA members, as well as families from Northshore, and others in the neighborhood.Over 60 volunteers from the neighborhood and school served—unofficially—on Community Serve Day.
It was a huge success! So much so that they did it again the next year, though still unofficially, and the day and activities mirrored what Northshore was doing at schools all around the Northshore School District. And many people took notice!
In addition to her summer service, Tawnya serves as the liaison between the school district counselors and Northshore Community Church for the annual Toy Shop, ensuring families in the district that need extra help at Christmastime receive it.
This last year, that need fell on one of her school’s own teachers. “She had to leave teaching due to life circumstances, and she reached out to me, knowing of my faith and connection to Northshore, and Northshore blessed her beyond what she could’ve imagined. The teacher said, ‘I have never been around such loving people!’ She saw the faith in action. She saw the school community being blessed by the church, and because of what she saw, she reached out.”
Tawnya’s school was able to be a part of its first official Community Serve Day last year. Over 100 Northshore volunteers descended onto the school grounds, tackling the tough jobs that needed to be done before the academic year began, blessing the teachers, office workers, and students in the process.
In the spring, Tawnya was given an award for her service and dedication, but she says, “This has nothing to do with me. I’m just a facilitator. The award really represents the impact that Northshore is having on the school community. It is recognizing the impact of the church! The school is truly aware that Northshore is loving their community. I just think that is exactly the goal.”
That’s the difference just one can make. Will you be one too?
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