"I was amazed at how quickly all of this was fulfilled,” said Salem. “I was contacted by the daycare that it would be shut down for two weeks on a Tuesday. My daughter was in the alternate daycare on Thursday. Without the help of Josh and Principal Lewis, I would have had to take two weeks off from school to watch my daughter. That would have been the 3rd time that I would have had to take that much time off from school due to Covid closure. I can't thank everyone involved enough for their help in providing some sort of stability and consistency during this difficult and frustrating time."
Josh Wells has served as the Community School Coordinator for Owen Middle School for the past four years. A United Way employee, Josh shows up every day at Owen Middle, to support the students, families, and staff at the school. Together they work hard to connect resources and people together to make systems work better for all.
“Resource Teams are at the center of our work here at Owen Middle,” said Josh. “Comprised of parents, educators, and local business and nonprofit leaders, the Resource Teams meet monthly to discuss emerging issues with the school and community and find ways we can work together to address them. The more diverse the group around the table, the better because we each can bring important perspectives and resources to light in any discussion.”
Covid has clearly made everything harder for all of us but schools are especially pressed at the moment as they work to maintain a safe environment and proper staffing during this latest surge of infections.
So Josh was thrilled when he learned that a resource shared in a recent meeting had gone on to help a teacher and ultimately the school community in a very real way.
The power of connection
At the last Resource Team meeting, John DeWitt, a community volunteer, shared information about openings at the DONALD S. COLLINS EARLY LEARNING CENTER which is the newest childcare resource in the Swannanoa Valley.
The following day, Principal Lewis got a call from one of his teachers, Salem Fadel, who had just learned that his child’s daycare center was going to have to quarantine for two weeks following an infection at their facility. Not having any other options, Michael had called Principal Lewis to ask for time off from school.
Remembering what he had learned the previous day, Principal Lewis made a few phone calls and connected the two. In the space of a day, Salem’s child was enrolled temporarily in this 5-star facility, allowing the family to maintain their normal routine until their daycare center was back up and running.
Principal Lewis shared a few thoughts as well:
“Being a school leader is more challenging than I have ever experienced. Wins like these reinvigorate you and provide a brighter light at the end of the tunnel. While you are aware of the positive impacts that being a Community School brings, seeing a direct impact that immediately helps a member of the OMS family is very gratifying and brings a tangible affirmation to the work.”
He went on to say, “It is imperative to have supportive community involvement on the Resource Team. We are stronger together, and we all have strengths, contacts, and resources that other members do not have. It is the strength of the group that makes Community Schools work. Every member is important because you never know when the gap that presents itself is one that they can help bridge.”
Call to Action
Are you interested in joining or connecting with a Resource Team? Do you know of an event or a resource that the schools should know about and promote? Here’s the contact at each of our seven Community Schools: