Our Everyday Neighborhood Hero: Bernadette

Family Engagement Liaison, Bernadette Marquez

Wednesday of Christmas week 2020, Lakewood Connects Director Reg Cox stopped by to visit Foothills Elementary School’s Family Engagement Liaison, Bernadette Marquez, at the end one of the hardest years in American education history. Teachers and students were at home for a well-deserved break by Wednesday, but not Bernadette. She was at school creating hope for hundreds of families and kids, and Lakewood Connects was blessed to be there supporting her!

Reg was there that day to deliver computer routers that Lakewood Connects partners had supplied to support student remote learning tech needs. Bernadette’s job is to create family connections, support student success, and link families in crisis with help. But in addition, she also manages “Foodies” (a pantry located on school property). Lakewood Connects was blessed to be part of establishing Foodies, which provides food, clothing, and medical supplies for the community.

Wednesday afternoon, December 23, the school cafeteria was full of wrapped gifts and boxes of food and turkeys for families dropping by to pick them up. Bernadette could have been home with her family but she was so fired up to be there instead, because the food and toys had been donated by local churches, neighbors, and businesses, and she couldn’t wait to give all of these goods out to her families.

When neighborhood organizations come together a kind of “synergistic goodwill web” forms and together they are able to solve problems and remove barriers to alleviating suffering. Bernadette’s reward is the encouragement she feels working with her neighborhood partners. What a little thing it is to build a partnership, but that little thing is changing the lives of hundreds of people in hundreds of positive ways! 

A little encouragement goes a long way… like the encouragement you’ve given to us at Lakewood Connects! Thanks for your support that ensures that our work and vision of building partnerships to alleviate suffering continues. This model of collaboration building, the re-envisioning the role of “church” and the tangible proof that government, education, business, and faith can be problem solving partners is catching on in other places nationally! Thanks for making this all possible!

Happy New Year!

The Board and staff at Lakewood Connects

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