Over the past 5 years, COSILoveYou has convened leaders across the Pikes Peak region, including Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, to meet with local pastors and discuss major needs in our region. Among other concerns, the mayor has asked the faith community to help our city by addressing two major challenges: homelessness and at-risk youth. One result of these conversations: in 2017, 55 local churches banded together to contribute nearly $1M toward Springs Rescue Mission’s shelter expansion.
As we’ve considered ways to direct resources towards the issues surrounding at-risk-youth, it’s clear that local schools are often the most consistent places at which these individuals and families gather and seek help. In response to this need, COSILoveYou has launched a local initiative called “COSILoveSchools,” a push for local churches, nonprofits, and businesses to partner with schools and support them through walking alongside their practical needs. We provide volunteers and resources to local schools through CityServe Day. This year, we saw CityServe Day volunteers serve at 46 schools across the Pikes Peak region.
Building up a local school
One of these schools was Coronado High School, which needed to refresh its space for special education teachers to meet with their students. Coronado High School Principal Darin Smith explained: “We had kids coming in to meet with the teachers, but there was no privacy. It was an open room, very small.” The school saw an unused classroom as a way to create this space, but they would need to build a wall to separate the meeting room from the classroom. “There was already a door and a door frame, we just needed a wall with some windows,” said Principal Smith.
Before wall was installed
A local remodeling business, HOMEfix, saw this as an opportunity to use their resources and gifts to serve the school. “We try to do a service project once a quarter around town,” said HOMEfix Owner Griff Hanning “We love Colorado Springs. We wanted a project that required a skill more than the average volunteer.”
On CityServe Day, Hanning and his team built a wall down the center of the room, installed windows, and painted all the cabinets. “The biggest challenge was getting it all done in one day,” said Hanning. “But my guys love volunteering and serving the community. They completely volunteered their time on a Saturday.” Hanning also considers his faith as a motivator for his desire to serve: “We strive to improve homes and change lives. I follow that with, ‘Because Jesus changed mine.’ We want our love for others to flow through us. The people are what matter.”
While a few finishing touches are still needed in this classroom, CityServe Day was crucial in the school’s ability to accomplish the bulk of the work. “It’s hard to get a project done during the school year,” said Principal Smith. “We can’t do it during business hours, so we need a special weekend like what COSILoveYou put together. We’re very thankful for what they did.”
Principal Smith and Hanning look forward to new projects and service opportunities at CityServe 2020. “We would love to host another project!” said Smith. “There’s plenty to do.” This was also the first CityServe Day that Hanning’s team participated in. “The staff excited to do it again.”
Will you join us?
We believe that as schools go, communities go. As schools are uplifted and deeply cared for, neighborhoods will begin to experience that same positive trend. The Coronado High School project is one example of how collaboration can be the key to rallying needed support. Principal Smith talked about the impact of volunteers and partnerships: “Many of our at-risk kids don’t have their basic needs met. The more volunteers that come in to help them, the better. I’ve seen what happens between volunteers and these kids, and it’s good.”
For the 2019-2020 school year, we are engaged in building partnerships at several local schools. If you’re interested in being a part of one of these schools’ Community Teams, please visit our website.