If you ask me what happened in my life when I was nine, I would struggle to remember. But if you asked about fourth grade, then it becomes more clear. School provides a mental architecture for us to remember our life that our biological age does not. That’s not surprising, since we spend seven hours a day for 180 days inside that building. Most of our friends, field trips, and educational opportunities came through school. Along with church and family, school is the most important influence in a child’s life.
That’s why I’m so excited that Academy 4 is coming to White Station. Academy 4 connects churches to schools and communities through mentoring 4th graders. One Friday every month, White Station will send mentors into Leadership Preparatory Charter School for 90 minutes to build a mentoring relationship with a 4th grader. Mentors will be trained in how to be a safe presence, how to lead helpful conversations, and how to make it a fun experience for the 4th grader. No teaching experience is required.
This is a huge opportunity for us. I cannot imagine a better way to activate our mission to serve our diverse community than to be invited to spend 90 minutes in a school with a child.
White Station partners have already stepped up to lead. Lindsay Cloer has experience with Academy 4 from her time in Fort Worth. Ellis Haguewood is our shepherd's liaison. Daphne Logan is coordinating ways we can all be involved. But we need you as well. This requires one day a month for 90 minutes. It’s not a lot, but we need consistency. You will hear more about Academy 4 on Sunday, May 15. There will be a table in the Auditorium lobby and a brief presentation during First and Second Service.
Kids in Memphis may look back one day and remember positive things that happened when they were in fourth grade. Perhaps they will remember the Christian from White Station who made time for them.