More than 700 items are knitted at home each year by members of Rochester (N.Y.) Christian Reformed Church’s knitting ministry. Some of those creations go to community centers and health clinics, but many of them warm the heads and hands of students at John James Audubon School #33, the church’s neighborhood public school. It’s the largest in the district with 1,200 students who experience a high poverty rate. Concerned church members began a school relations program there two years ago. Now as many as 13 volunteers provide a Christian presence at the school daily.
Nancy Johnson, a retired teacher and Rochester CRC member who helped establish the volunteer program with a gym teacher at the school, said there has been great support from the congregation.
The congregation has established relationships with staff by donating extra holiday candy to be enjoyed on hectic days and sharing notes of encouragement with staff members in addition to providing school supplies and handmade knitted items for students.
“Every December when the knitters bring their work in to be bagged and distributed, we are all in awe. The stories of how the yarn arrived for this hat or that scarf are always amazing,” said Ann Michele Bouwmeester, leader of the knitting ministry.
In the school lunchroom, Rochester CRC volunteers bring in coloring pages for elementary students to complete after eating their lunches. The lunchroom staff welcomed this idea and see that it touches the lives of the students.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year, Rochester CRC invited school administrators to a worship service to report on how the collaborative effort has made a difference at the school. Administrators expressed thanks for the congregation’s prayers, encouragement, time, and resources.