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The Madera Tribune

Pulpits, pews and pupils: new school volunteer program begins

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webmaster | 11/05/13

Vickie Rowlett and her fifth graders crowded around Terry Hansen as he chose students to step out and become planets. The AT&T retiree-turned-volunteer was about to teach the John Adams sixth graders about the solar system right there on their own playground.

Hansen’s science lesson is part of a program, in which some of Madera’s churches are reaching out to local schools to form partnerships that bring volunteers onto the campuses to help teachers and kids. The project is called “Adopt a School,” and it has linked the Madera Ministerial Association, Madera Unified School District and a couple of leaders from the city of Madera in an effort to bring helping hands from the pews and the pulpits into the classrooms.

‘Adopt a School’

The non-sectarian program is the brainchild of Jim Taubert, executive director of the Successor Agency, Robert Poythress, mayor of Madera, and Pastor Roger Leach of Valley West Christian Center, representing the Madera Ministerial Association. Two years ago, the trio paid a visit to a meeting of Fresno’s “Every Neighborhood Partnership” program and brought back the core of an idea that is being implemented this year across Madera.

Upon leaving Fresno, the Madera threesome went directly to Madera Unified Superintendent, Gustavo Balderas, who embraced the concept and brought Deputy Superintendent Anthony Monreal on board. The idea was to involve Madera’s churches with schools within their communities...


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