Whiz Kids Makes a Difference

In all the years that Whiz Kids has been at Foothills Elementary, I always knew it was a life changing ministry! I finally had the opportunity to join this last school year and was blessed with a first grade girl named, Heaven. At first, I struggled with knowing how best to tutor her. Even though I had homeschooled my kids, it was not easy to determine her needs or how best to teach her. The Lord answered my prayers about this when her mom, Stephanie, invited me to the parent teacher conference! The teacher gave me great input that helped to shape our focus and our goals during tutoring time.

With this new game plan, it was so rewarding to see her academic improvements! In December, every time we worked on reading, she was resistant and uncomfortable. She mixed up letters and did not know sight words. However by our last tutor time, she not only felt very comfortable with reading but also confident and happy!

Besides this academic growth, it did not take me long to realize how much farther reaching this ministry is! I had many direct and indirect opportunities “to make Jesus famous”, besides the one on one tutor time. Parents also regularly saw “Jesus with skin on” at the end of our tutor times, at the Christmas party, and at the end of year party. Heaven’s family was so comfortable and connected that Stephanie brought food to the Christmas party and her son helped serve and clean up! Besides the family being impacted by Jesus, the school and teachers were also. Not only did they see better grades, but also tutors connected with teachers who were still there during tutor time.

The direct ways of sharing Jesus were through club time and through the tutor team. We were like a big, happy family with the sole purpose of loving on these kids and bringing Jesus to these kids! The solidarity and support of this “community” was apparent when one of us couldn’t be there, others stepped in to tutor or to team up. Club time was so “successful” that by the end of the year, the kids were able to clearly and confidently share the story of Jesus!

Heaven and I connected so well that every Tuesday morning she would tell Stephanie that she couldn’t miss Tuesday because it was “Lisa Day”. Also the family and I felt so connected that they gave me gifts and cards, and even shared prayer requests! Stephanie and I plan to set up a time to hang out with Heaven this summer. This is all so much a “God-thing”!

As I’m remembering all of this, I’m realizing how much I look forward to the next school year, thanking the Lord and anticipating how He is going to shine Jesus at Whiz Kids again!

-Lisa Welsh, Lakewood Connects Board Member and Whiz Kid tutor

Donation of Furniture & Fixtures

A huge part of what we do at Lakewood Connects is right in our name — we form connections to make Lakewood a better place. Sometimes that means knowing the places that have needs, so when an opportunity comes up, we can get the right people talking to transfer resources and improve life on both sides.

Recently, Confluent Development (full disclosure: one of our board members works for Confluent) purchased a new building and the previous owners left behind a bunch of furniture & fixtures that were in great shape! Since Confluent didn’t need these materials, they wanted to donate them to local schools and churches that would need them. Through connections, the nearly $40,000 of furniture and fixtures was distributed to three schools and one church.

20190201_101655Augustine Classical Academy

20190201_095053Bethlehem Lutheran School

Sewall Child Development Center and Mountain Christian Church also received equipment!

Total donation:

  • 19 Folding flat top tables, very versatile, high quality, expensive.
  • 46 Folding stackable chairs.
  • 2 large rolling whiteboards
  • Teaching lectern, and teaching assistant.
  • Cubes and additional working space

This truly was a case of businesses, schools, and a church coming together to improve the quality of life in Lakewood. We are grateful to be part of this work!

Foothills Garden Opening Ceremony

On Monday morning, the day after Earth Day, I had the pleasure of attending the Foothills Elementary Garden Opening Ceremony at Foothills Elementary. My toddler son tagged along, and we both had a great time watching all the students!

We started the morning in the school gym, where I was told they start every school day to have their Morning Meeting before going to their classrooms. After some announcements and the pledge of allegiance, the entire student body went out to the area near the garden to listen to speakers and see the garden. I was so impressed by the way the students were all so engaged in what was happening!

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Diane speaking to the group

Outside, many parents and community members joined the students, teachers, and staff of Foothills. There were invited guest speakers from the Jeffco School Board, Mayor Adam Paul, principals from other Green Mountain area schools, and Diane Rhodus, an instrumental part of the project and a Lakewood Connects Board Member. Amazing job Diane! Reg Cox, Lakewood Connects Executive Director was also invited to sit among honored guests during the opening ceremony.

Large group photo in the garden

All the people that made the garden happen!

This project and this ceremony was a true collaboration on every level. As an outsider, there just as a Lakewood Connects board member and community member to support this work, I was amazed at what is happening here. The sense of community is incredible, and it’s something I hope that my child and my family gets to experience someday. The connections between schools, government, businesses, and churches truly make a difference in the lives of people in Lakewood. I’m thankful to call this city home, thankful to call Diane and Reg friends, and thankful that projects like this ultimately bring glory to God through His people.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the students grow in the garden and how it grows our community!

Courtney Drysdale
Lakewood Connects Board Member