George Middle School was "Loved" on April 18th

on Sunday, June 14, 2015 Posted in Stories, Happenings, School Partnership Network

"It was an amazing day that is still sparking change in the school today!" Herman Greene enthused, about the George Middle School cleanup day on April 18th. So much more than just another "school clean-up day," local volunteers sought to restore a sense of community and school pride to George Middle School and its neighbors. They came to "love" on their school!

Sponsored by Southlake North and a coalition of other churches in the St John's area, the day of service meant more than a "campus cleanup" to students and teachers of George—the community effort represented hope for a brighter future. The humble and loving attitudes of volunteers communicated to the school, staff, and students that their lives matter. The Day of Service sent a message of public recognition—that this community cares about what happens at and around George Middle School.

Admittedly, the students at George have had to function in a building that doesn't accurately reflect the learning environment that the staff, students, and their families desire and deserve. Students sit at desks marred with all kinds of graffiti; they walk down unkempt and dirty hallways. Not because no wants to clean them, but because the custodial staff has been cut by 25% and they struggle to maintain the basics.

When Mr. Greene wrote to prospective volunteers announcing the April 18th "Day of Service," he empathized with the students ".... in the mind of the child, 'If the people that are supposed to be taking care of it don't care,' then why should they? In the minds of the staff it's like, 'How do I continue to come to work every day to a place that doesn't look like a difference is being made?' In the minds of the community it's, 'Why should I send my child to a school that looks like it's dying.' Something has to be done!!!"

Herman invited the community members to join forces with Southlake North and stand alongside of the St. Johns' Starbucks, the Church Of North Portland and many others, to show the school, the students, the staff and the community that they care. They were determined to not simply stand by while gangs and dealers became more appealing to their kids than a good education. They wanted to come together to "love their school!"

To say that the day was "a success" is an understatement. Not only were the grounds, facilities and classroom equipment cleaned, the morale of the entire school community was lifted. There is a growing sense of pride and community spirit, and a renewed commitment to do whatever is necessary to enhance the learning environment at George. April 18th was the beginning of a whole new chapter in the history of George Middle School. All it took was a little "love!"