It’s that time of year again - parents grabbing last-minute back-to-school deals, students groaning through the new rhythms of extracurricular activities and homework, and teachers putting the finishing touches on their classrooms. Many GFCers jump into the bustle of a new school year through our We Love Mountain View campaign, a partnership serving Mountain View Elementary School and the broader Mountain View community.
This will be GFCer Chris Dotterweich’s fourth year serving the same teacher at Mountain View as a Homeroom Helper. “It’s so much fun!” she exclaims, a smile lighting up her face. Chris and her husband Doug have attended Grace for nearly 25 years and have served as both community group leaders and short-term Reaching Trip participants, so Chris had known about GFC’s partnership with Mountain View since its inception. But it wasn’t until Leslie Oyler, Lead Pastor Tom Oyler’s wife, shared her own experience at Mountain View that Chris decided to get involved. “Leslie had to give me a little push. She kept talking about how much fun it was, so I just had to give it a try. I am so glad I did!”
Chris says initially she was nervous about serving in the classroom. “I was worried about not being what the teacher wanted or needed. But each week you get more comfortable with the teacher, the classroom, and the kids. And my teacher is so thankful for the work I do. Every time I leave, she has her class clap for me. It’s like I’ve been there for 20 hours instead of 3.”
3 hours a week on Wednesday mornings, Chris helps her teacher with small jobs around her classroom, such as collating booklets, cutting out laminating materials, listening to children read, and helping kids with art projects (which have already been prepared by the teacher). For her, the reward is seeing how something as simple as a smile or a pat on the back can brighten a child’s day. “The kids are so excited to see you – they rush up to give you hugs and huge smiles – shouting, ‘Ms. Chris is here!’ ‘Ms. Chris is here!’”
In addition to bringing both child and teacher encouragement and joy, our Mountain View volunteers also bring the love of God and the hope of Christ into the school. Chris has seen God open doors for her to develop relationships and faith conversations in remarkable ways. “Throughout the year, you become very close to the classroom teacher. She has shared prayer requests with me, and she’s told me my notes of encouragement mean the world to her. I was even invited to her wedding a few months ago.”
Additionally, Chris has felt challenged on her own spiritual journey to pray for both the classroom teachers and students who may be going through difficulties at home. This is one quiet and powerful way our We Love Mountain View ministry is serving this community - by surrounding an under-resourced school and all of its families and teachers in prayer.
In addition to working as a Homeroom Helper, Chris has also volunteered at several Mountain View Fall Festivals, prepared meals for faculty and staff luncheons, and served dinners at kickball games.
“There really is a spot for everybody,” she explains. GFCers can serve weekly through the Homeroom Helper or Lunch Buddy opportunities or as infrequently as once or twice a year at special events. “Whether serving food, prepping cake mix, overseeing games, or just showing up for field day, the only requirements to be a volunteer at Mountain View are a smile and servant’s heart. The faculty, staff, and children really appreciate all the help GFC gives them. I hope you will consider joining the team of volunteers.”
Just like Chris, you’ll be glad you did.
If you'd like to learn more about serving with our We Love Mountain View ministry, stop by the Operation Cooperation lobby table on Sunday mornings through May 23 or check out the opportunities online.
Posted on Thu, August 6, 2015
by Grace Fellowship Church