Reading in the neighborhood

By Jennie Waering

Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. (Virlina District), formed a Race Education Team in 2019. Through racial justice studies led by the team, Central’s congregation learned about disparities in educational achievements, particularly the ability to read well, in low-income schools with large Black and Hispanic populations.

Through generous support, Central gave 640 students in 2 inner-city neighborhood elementary schools (Lincoln Terrace and Hurt Park) 4 books each as a holiday present–that’s 2,560 books.

From Dec. 8 to 14, Central’s congregation and friends read books to the 43 classes in the 2 schools and presented the students in Pre-K to 5th grade their books, along with decorated gift bags.

The congregation was involved both in decorating the gift bags and in reading to the students. During the reading sessions, Central’s readers emphasized the importance of reading and told the students that if they could read well, they could do anything and have any career they wanted.

Many students were delighted that the books were theirs to keep forever. Those who read to the students loved the ability to interact with the students and the students loved the readers!

— Jennie Waering is a member of the Race Education Team at Central Church of the Brethren.

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