Students at a local elementary school received the gift of warmth during the Christmas season with the help of members of Alive Ministries, a Christian Reformed congregation in Jenison, Mich.
Nearly 50 students from 14 families received pajamas, warm socks, and other presents from church members. It is part of an ongoing ministry between Alive’s Impact outreach program to nearby Bauerwood Elementary School that includes Spark, an afterschool program that offers tutoring and mentoring to students four days a week, said Eric Billin, the church’s worship ministries director.
“We wanted to form a partnership with a local elementary school, and find a way to see the best academic improvement in students who are struggling,” Billin said. “This program has helped to make a difference in the lives of the students, and the teachers have found that those kids are also paying better attention during class.”
Alive began offering Spark nearly a year ago, with about 20 students attending each week. Church members serve as tutors for the program. Alive also has a prayer partner ministry with teachers at Bauerwood and offers movie nights during the school year, Billin said.
For the holidays, Alive created an anonymous system for donations from church members to kids in need. In addition, the school receives donations from people and local organizations for the season, Billin said.
“Alive has such a wonderful focus on community outreach,” Bauerwood principal Crystal Morse said. “Their drive to make an impact via service is definitely tangible.”