A philosophy is a way of thinking that reflects values or convictions that change the why and way we do things. In many ways Lakewood Connects is a philosophy for the way churches and faith leaders focus their impact. We coach churches to invest in service to the community first and believe that through prioritizing them over us their sense of purpose and own needs will be met. There are many teachings of Jesus that substantiate this others first philosophic path and yet this vision often clashes with the success metric of an us first culture. To help expand this vision, Lakewood Connects is committed to practicing this philosophy in our own community! It’s easier to explain ideas when we lead by example.
Since 2012 several churches in Lakewood, Colorado have invested time, energy, and money into supporting underserved elementary schools. Lakewood Connects has led efforts to raise money for facility renovations, PTAs, food programs, and staff support. We have built partnerships with schools to facilitate tutoring, neighborhood-school gardens, carnivals, Christmas programs, fitness events, fundraising activities, and many other programs that flourish because of a “lets-do-this-together” spirit. What started between schools and churches in Lakewood has expanded to include neighborhood associations, businesses/nonprofits, and government all collaborating on a scale that has potential to by-pass obstacles to community vitality that often eludes these kinds of neighborhoods and schools.
The results of this work speak for themselves: state board/chamber of commerce/school district commendations, school academic/enrollment increases, improved staff morale, restored business and neighborhood involvement with schools, growth of parental involvement, and other family/student successes. It just feels different when you walk down the halls of a school that is surrounded by community love and support and this is the real measure of success that we long to grow and expand.
A celebration of this work occurred Wednesday November 3, when Lakewood Connects supported Foothills Elementary leaders Bernadette Marquez and Principal Josh Shapiro (shown below) who hosted a “thank you” breakfast for various community partners who have supported the school over the years.
The attendees at the event represented a diverse sample of the kinds of people and organizations who partner to support and create a thriving community: a County Commissioner, Pastors, School Board President, Volunteers, Foundations, Police Officers, Students, Business Leaders, and the Mayor. The excitement in the room was contagious. It’s a picture of what partnership can produce when Government, Business, Faith and Education work together to help underserved students, families and educators thrive! Partnership transformed an underserved school into an abundantly served school!
But what is it like to lead in an underserved school or neighborhood without this kind of support? That is the challenge that lies ahead! Can we build partnerships like the one at Foothills for other schools across the city? In other cities? Lakewood Connects believes this vision of flourishing starts with a philosophic shift in church and faith leaders! Churches are full of people who believe that giving themselves to others first is their life mission. At Lakewood Connects we believe church can be the convener of community connection! In 2022 and beyond we are working to further this philosophy and spread its positive impact.
This holiday season we are grateful for your encouragement and support for Lakewood Connects. The story of the partnerships at Foothills Elementary is only the beginning! Let’s Do Good Together!
Our biggest fundraising event of the year occurs on Colorado Gives Day, Tuesday December 7. Thanks for considering us as part of your charitable giving this year.