Mission Statement: To serve the Rivera Elementary School community by providing volunteers who will support students, staff and parents.
One in every three children that attend Rivera has limited English proficiency, meaning that they struggle with understanding and speaking the English language. Based on the Texas Education Agency’s assessment of student performance from previous school years, two out of three students at Rivera are already considered at-risk of dropping out of school.
Rivera Elementary is a high-need school campus in Denton ISD: the large majority of the entire student population is currently living at or below the federal poverty level.
The Adopt-A-School program, sponsored by Denton ISD and the Denton Chamber of Commerce, fosters partnerships between organizations and public schools. Adoptions are tailor-made to suit each partnership, based on the organization’s resources and the school’s needs. Our church adopted Rivera Elementary, which has over 560 enrolled students, more than 90% of whom are economically disadvantaged on free or reduced lunch program.
Whether it’s a weekly commitment or a one time event, we need your participation to support our Rivera family and provide those relationships.
- Mentoring—weekly commitment of 30 minutes to an hour to meet one-on-one with a student.
- Office and Classroom assistance—copying, preparing bulletin boards, library projects, other helpful activities to provide campus support.
- Watch Dogs—a Big Brothers type program to provide male role models for students.
- Career Week—be available to discuss your vocation.
- Book Fair—assist librarian during this week of sales.
- Fall Festival—join the community in setting up and providing fun and games for students.
- Teacher Appreciation Week—provide snacks to show how much we appreciate the Rivera staff.
- In-service Week and Meet the Teacher Night
- Afternoon Enrichment activities
All volunteers must have a current background check on file with DISD. The background check is available on DISD website.
“Programs don’t change people, relationships do.”-Bill Milliken, Founder of Communities in Schools.
One + One
Aware of the impact mentoring and tutoring can make in a child’s life, Bishop Mike McKee, from the North Texas Conference started One + One, a program where each adult mentors one child from a public school. To fulfill the mission of encouraging children to live into the abundant life God desires for them he asks parishioners to dedicate one hour a week to mentor/tutor a child and develop one-to-one relationships.
The United Methodist Church, since the late eighteenth century, started to teach children to read the Bible during Sunday School. “Back then, people sought out the church. Now is the day when the church must seek the people,” said Bishop McKee.
Through the One + One initiative, he wants to ensure that students advance to higher education and that we join forces with local public schools to serve our community.
FUMC-Denton has partnered with Tomas Rivera Elementary for a few years and counts with volunteers in different capacities, including mentoring/tutoring. To achieve Bishop McKee’s goal of having at least 10% of each congregation in the Conference mentoring one child, we need our members and neighbors to step up and sign-up!
Ms. Roshaunda Thomas, Principal of Tomas Rivera Elementary School, Denton ISD, said that “Rivera’s partnership with the First United Methodist Church community has provided great support for our students and teachers. The members of this church never cease to amaze me. They are involved in every area of our campus from volunteering, mentorship, and being part of the Campus Leadership Team. Many of the Rivera students have school supplies and clothing because of YOU, and due to your generous donations, our students and staff never go without. The FUMC and its members have been dedicated and committed to the campus. We are so very happy to have them as part of the Rivera family!”
Here are what some of the children had to say about their mentors:
“Thank you so much for being my mentor! Thank you for listening to me and being there for me. Thank you for sharing your music recommendations. We have such similar taste in everything—music, books, movies, etc. But most of all, thank you for being my friend.”
“Mrs. G, I will miss you so much, and I would like to have you for my mentor next year! I love Mrs. G. I will miss you.” (Mrs. G did continue to mentor this student.)
“Ms. R, you have been a great mentor. You have let me see the world, and you have let me get out of class even when my favorite class was the one you pulled me out of. (Smile). I hope you have a great summer. “
But it is a two-side relationship and so are the rewards:
Bob Voss, mentor since 2014: “Watching for that small smile is the reward when mentoring my young elementary student. Hearing how his day or week has gone might be the only time he has someone listen to those accomplishments or fears. I may never get to see the effect of my mentoring just as a lot of the people who mentored me were never sure of their effect. God hasn’t asked me to be a miracle worker only to be obedient and work with his children.”
Bob Harris, mentor since 2012: “The weekly visits with my two boys didn’t seem too important to me. But both of them looked forward to these meetings and were counting on them, and someone on the school staff told me that one boy was doing better in class. So maybe I was having some kind of good effect on them.”
Click here to read a mentor’s beautiful statement.
Make a difference. Contact Mary Harris Mary.Harris@unt.edu.