October 25th, 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of Monterey Elementary School in Southeast Colorado Springs. In celebration, over 450 parents, students, and community members gathered for a fall carnival that highlighted the decades Monterey Elementary has existed. COSILoveYou had the opportunity to support this event through the COSILoveSchools initiative, which convenes church, business, and nonprofit partners to uplift a local school. The team set up a fall carnival in the gym with games and trick-or-treating for the kids. New Life Church and Iglesia Nueva Vida, along with MacGuire Team Realtors, recruited multiple partners* to run activity booths including balloon animals, cornhole, and a photobooth. Families dressed up in Halloween costumes and participated in fun games, winning candy and prizes!
Kellie Moore, Principal of Monterey Elementary, recalled, “The anniversary felt like a big ask, but the whole gym was transformed. All we had to do was open the doors and turn on the lights.” COSILoveYou’s hard work on the gym enabled Monterey staff to focus on other parts of the event. Each grade created a walking timeline by decorating their classrooms to match a decade theme, from history to pop culture.
Missy MacGuire of MacGuire Team Realtors sits on the COSILoveSchools team supporting Monterey Elementary and ran the cornhole booth at the carnival. “The kids had so much fun!” she said. “They loved the interaction and the games, and the families kept coming back.”
Schools as the Center of Community
The 50th Anniversary Carnival is just one example of how the COSILoveSchools initiative supports the Monterey staff and student body. The COSILoveSchools team also contributes by writing the teachers letters of encouragement, providing meals at meetings, and is currently planning to do a teachers’ lounge makeover. Principal Moore explained why the partnership is so important for the school’s mission: “Other schools have an active PTA, but many of our Monterey parents work several jobs, so they don’t have time to get as involved. COSILoveYou fills that niche and allows us to be more engaged with the community.”
Monterey Elementary has a vision to reach out and encourage neighbors in the surrounding community. Through partnership with COSILoveSchools, they have increased resources and manpower to provide this support. “We’re the hub,” said Principal Moore. “We don’t have a community center or a YMCA, so the school takes on that role.” MacGuire also talked about the school’s efforts to build community: “A lot of neighbors are grandparents raising their kids. Monterey wants to bridge those gaps to foster relationships and help the community come together.”
Principal Moore explained why school partnerships create such a big impact, not just for the students, but the teachers and surrounding community: “Today in education, we have to meet students’ basic needs before they can come to school and learn. This is where COSILoveSchools takes some pressure off. We don’t need to be saved – we need help empowering these kids.” MacGuire reflected on her involvement: “By partnering with schools, we put our faith into action and demonstrate it to the community. Teachers and staff work so hard and can feel alone as they shepard these kids. When they know they’ve got folks in the community supporting and loving them, it can make all the difference.”
How to get Involved?
The COSILoveSchools initiative is always looking for dynamic community members willing to use their time, energy, and resources to support families in need by getting involved in a local school. If you are interested in being a part of one of a COSILoveSchools team, please visit our website.