Southwest Elementary School
Last summer, my husband and I moved our family from Cordova to Fayette County. Having been engaged with the Living Hope community for several years, we found God calling us to make a deeper commitment to the people in homes and neighborhoods we drove past every Sunday.
When prayerfully considering where our family might start to invest our time and efforts to serve our new community here, we felt pulled to a local school because of its proximity to our home and Living Hope. Southwest Elementary School (SWES) serves hundreds of students in Fayette County, over 40% of them living in poverty. Teachers at SWES consistently go without basic supplies like copy paper, pencils, and instructional materials they need to teach their students. Despite their struggles, SWES achieved the highest level of growth and attendance possible last school year. These educators, students, and their families are fighting against the odds to achieve great things!
After reaching out to the principal at SWES in July to better understand the school’s needs, I hosted an adopt-a-teacher fundraiser through social media channels. The goal was to provide each educator at SWES with a $50 gift card to purchase materials they needed for their students and classrooms. Within one week, our fundraiser was halfway achieved. As I shared this news with our Gospel Community, one couple wrote a check to contribute. You can imagine my complete shock and amazement when I opened the folded check in the car on the way home from our GC meeting that night and realized that this one family had donated the remaining amount needed to reach our goal!
A few days later, I was able to visit Southwest Elementary with the gift cards and handwritten notes in hand. The joy in that small school office is something I hadn’t experienced in quite some time. The faculty and staff shared with me how the generosity of members of Living Hope and other people in our community is encouraging them in their work and empowering them to love their students well.
More than 5,600 people here in Fayette County are living in poverty. The needs are real, and the harvest is plentiful. I look forward to many more opportunities to serve the staff and students of Southwest Elementary and hope you’ll find ways to be a part of this ministry, too!
- Ellie Talley