Two St. Peter’s parishioners talked with a woman who was waiting on her grandson to get off the school bus. They spoke with her and invited her to our bible study on Wednesdays.
The woman showed up at the bible study on the following Wednesday and was troubled by what she had seen when visiting her grandson’s elementary school classroom in Church Hill. A student had spoken to her with great disrespect and she was troubled by the experience.
So she came to bible study seeking answers. We talked about how many people when they behave badly in school or other social setting are met with crossed arms and furrowed brows. We talked about a different approach — how we could be nurturing and supportive of those children rather than always focusing on punitive measures. This is not to negate the need for discipline. But to affirm the child as a child of God while also addressing the behavior.
We had a significant walk in January that wasn’t even in Church Hill.
On a bitter cold MLK Day a group of us from St. Peter’s went to see MaxxPotential in Southside located where a Reynold’s plant that one of our regular walkers used to work in is located.
MaxxPotential does apprenticeships in technology and could help be an avenue for employment for residents of the East End. This was our first venture out together to an organization addressing this top priority according to resident’s who we speak with on walks: employment.
We have also entered 2016 with a slightly different lens. The walk team has been reading a book on how faith communities can take an asset based approach in their communities. Our questions to this point have been around needs and priorities when talking with residents. Now we have an opportunity to shift the questions to what strengths and assets do you see here in the neighborhood. And in the back of our minds, the question, how could these strengths and assets help us in addressing employment together.