Spotlighting Our Local, National & International Outreach
This has been a busy summer for the church. After a year's hiatus, for their annual mission trip, the youth group drove to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey cleanup and repairs. Locally, our own Mission Starts at Home helped congregants with repairs and chores around their homes. Church members volunteered in groups at such places as Community Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity. You'll find updates on some of these missions later in this issue, but first, with Fall in the air and students back in the classroom, we look at the special relationship between our church and Truscott Elementary.
Back to School
You may have seen the boxes of school supplies in the foyer of the church. It has been an annual tradition to collect items in the Fall that students will need in the classroom throughout the year and donate them to Truscott Elementary School. The school's teachers and administrators put together a laundry list of desires, such as folders, markers and pencils that will help keep the kids outfitted to reach their full potential. You really came through! The church collected more than 5 large plastic bins of supplies and with $255 in cash donations, 400 earbuds were purchased. These donations, which were delivered August 16th, were deeply appreciated and will benefit the 225 elementary students attending our neighborhood school, Truscott Elementary.
Tissues and Tea
For some, the first day of school can be traumatic, and likely more so for kindergartners (and their parents). The day before all students return to school, Monday August 16th this year, is designated as "Transition Day" on the Thompson School District calendar. This provides students entering kindergarten, 6th and 9th a day to become familiar with their new school. As part of the orientation, Truscott Elementary hosts "Tissues and Tea" for the incoming kindergartners and their families.
The school secretary, Michelle Mueller, reached out to FUMC Loveland to see if we would be willing to help out and the response was a resounding yes. Our church was asked to provide treats, coffee, tea, and some sympathetic ears. Ann Kessler, Carolyn Bouchard, and Phyllis Wehrle showed up with boxes of flavored tea, coffee cake, and fruit for the parents. Kindergartners dropped their parents off where they could enjoy the refreshments (and perhaps use a tissue or two) while the children toured their new school. Carolyn was able to visit with the Spanish speakers to let them know about her English lessons. There were a few tears shed and much appreciation for the snacks.
FUMC Loveland's history of support for Truscott Elementary extends back quite a ways. About 20 years ago, Kitty Nutting helped establish an after school program here at the church for Truscott students. Twice a week, church members would help them with their homework. The program eventually evolved to include not only homework aid, but games and enrichment programs. For 5 to 6 years, the program, which became known as Corner to Corner, was shepherded by Lauren Miller and Laura Morgan took over after Lauren left. As part of the popcorn ministry, Bill Reed Middle School students were included in this after school program. Toward the end, as attendance dropped off, they did away with homework help and the program was eventually terminated at the end of 2017.
But that doesn't mean that church members are no longer involved in furthering Truscott student achievement. Many church members volunteer at Truscott as tutors as part of a program organized by the Loveland Rotary Club under the direction of Dave Mills. Though it is a Rotary program, the tutoring opportunity is open to all - not just Rotarians. Contact Charlie Bouchard to learn more about the program or to get involved.
Yet another program supporting the Truscott community is "Circle of Life". It was started by Bev Goodier to provide grief counseling to kids who have gone through traumatic events. New members to the program receive mandatory training and are typically paired with another member with previous group experience. Members go into the school, with permission, to work with children who have been affected by divorce, death, spousal abuse, incarceration, etc. These children are given tools to help cope with the chaos in their lives.
The pandemic put a crimp in this program when access to schools was curtailed. Recently, leadership for the group has been passed to Mary Camp, Joy Shaw and Carolyn Bouchard. The group is in the process of trying to figure out the new landscape in regards to the pandemic (school access, new counselors, etc).
Maintenance and repairs were performed in the Truscott community garden through the Vacation Volunteers a few years ago.
annual Posole Dinner takes place in mid-December and is a fundraiser
for Cafe con Leche, the Spanish Mom's group. Since the school has
limited space, FUMC has invited them to use our facilities to prepare
and serve this rich broth soup. It is a time for the Truscott family to
gather and celebrate with the FUMC community.
Some Truscott students are recipients of our annual Christmas gift drive.
Here is an initial inventory for the Truscott school supplies drive
Dry Erase 8pk
Donations are estimated to total just over $800
Texas Road Trip
The Youth Group would like to thank our church for supporting their Mission Trip to Texas. In June, they hit the road destined for Houston to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. They were able perform a lot of repairs while still finding time to visit NASA. It was a great week of work, play and fellowship.
The work projects were coordinated by The Restoration Team. They were making promotional videos while the youth group was there. You can visit the following links to see our own FUMC youth featured in The Restoration Team videos.
Construction started July 12th on the new home near Lemoa in Guatemala for Manuela and her two grandsons. That day was the launch of FUMC's Virtual MIssion Trip where trip members received daily email updates on the progress of the build. The emails included photos and videos of the days activities. Participants could also join the project's Facebook group to follow live-streamed progress. Although we weren't able to be there in person this year, it was gratifying to see the home start to come together.
Here is Danilo's accounting of the progress made in that first week:
On Monday, the construction crew continued to put fill dirt in the parts of the house at the level of the foundation.
By Tuesday, the construction team was ready for the Livestream team to carry out the first transmission of the week.
Pura Vida Guatemala was represented by Professor Fausto who proceeded to welcome each of the persons present as well as the people and representatives of Pura Vida USA, who through technology have been a fundamental part in each project that has been initiated.
A few minutes later, the construction team together with Manuela's family, began to work, the first thing that was done was to place thread for line levels that would serve as a guide for block placement. Laying blocks continued through one layer of U-block.
On Friday, the construction team, the family and the team of the livestreams met at 10:00am for the final Livestream to share with the Virtual Team the progress of the week, and to bless the family. The week was successfully concluded, thanks to each one for their support.
Also, the family is very attached to the team and Pura Vida, since having a house is a dream that they never thought they’d see. But thanks to you it is all a reality. Approximately 45% of the construction is complete, but they are very happy for everything and hope to see their little house completed in a few months.
The week ended with rebar ribs and pouring cement in the U-block.
To view a video of the weeks construction and Manuela's family, click here.
Thanks to FUMC Loveland, Pura Vida, and the Guatemalan construction crew, Manuela's family will have a new, safe place to live very soon.
Constructing Homes here in Loveland
Since 1987, FUMC Loveland has been volunteering at Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing for families in the community whose current living conditions are sub-standard, who meet financial requirements and who are willing to work 250 volunteer hours (sweat equity). This year has been no exception. Three Saturdays were scheduled this summer and while other groups were finding it difficult to fulfill their commitments, the FUMC community stepped up on each and every occasion.
Volunteers participated in a variety of construction activities. One day we were installing hurricane clips. Another day, it was laying sod at a few homes on the block. Painting is also a common occurrence so it's always wise to dress appropriately because it's just about guaranteed you'll drip paint on your clothes on those days.
Meeting the future homeowners
Most any volunteer day at Habitat, future homeowners are working alongside us putting in their sweat equity. This summer, we met Irma and her two sons and Kim who is a mother of 3 teenagers.