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6/4/97 Akin to children’s emphasis, WMU ‘adopts’ public school

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Joining the ranks with other corporations in Birmingham, Ala., Woman’s Missionary Union has enrolled in the Birmingham Public Schools’ Adopt-A-School Program.
WMU has been matched with Kingston Elementary School, a first- through fifth-grade school in a predominately African American neighborhood in east Birmingham. The assignment will begin in August and will involve a variety of activities yet to be determined by WMU and school leadership.
WMU representatives participated in a May 23 ceremony at the school in which certificates were presented to the respective parties by Jequette E. Harris, coordinator of the Adopt-A-School Program.
WMU’s relationship with the Birmingham adoption program will be done in cooperation with the Birmingham Baptist Association’s Center for Family Resourcing and Development. WMU employees participating in the Kingston project will receive training through programs offered by the center.
During the adoption ceremony, Kingston principal Jewell Love said, “We’re happy. We’re proud. We’re glad. It’s always nice for someone to come to your house and say they want to do something for you, especially when you have as many needs as we have.
“We believe that Woman’s Missionary Union will be as rewarded as we will be,” the principal continued, “because when you have that one-on-one contact — togetherness — you’re able to go farther and to reach higher heights.”
Susan Hansen, WMU ministry team chair, responded by thanking the principal, faculty and student body for “the opportunity to work with you. We want you to tell us what we can do to help you. We will try our best to help you in any way possible.
“We believe strongly that with a good education, you can do anything you want to do,” she said.
WMU’s decision to become involved in the Adopt-A-School Program is an outgrowth of the organization’s current “Project HELP: Child Advocacy” emphasis, in which WMU is calling on Southern Baptists to become involved in being an advocate for children.
“The Adopt-a-School Program is a perfect example of how communities benefit from caring about children,” Hansen said. “A child who learns to read; a child who has a good experience in school and learns because someone helped him or her overcome certain obstacles; a child who experiences love, kindness and encouragement to succeed — that child has a better chance for success in life and is far more likely to want to serve others and live peacefully in their community. “It’s cyclical,” she concluded. “The success of every child in Birmingham is our success. We all reap the benefits.”
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