PSD's Partner of the Month
For 10 years, Kensington Church has been a valuable partner to everyone in the Pontiac School District. But Linda Leinius, who works with Kensington doesn’t see it like that. “We’re neighbors. It’s just neighbors helping neighbors,” she said. So, in that spirit, we’d like to thank and celebrate our neighbors at Kensington Church.
“This past year forced us to adapt like most other organizations and schools to find creative ways to support all that the district is doing,” said Leinius. She also highlighted the fact that one of the key elements to the relationship was listening. “Every school is different, every school has its own personality and needs, and we try to listen to what that need is,” she said.
Some of the bigger things that Kensington did was put together care packages to send out to students across the district. After everything was successfully distributed, they found that some kids didn’t have an at-home collection of books to help them with both their reading and imagination skills, so, they sprang into action, putting together a collection of books so every kindergarten and first grade student would have an at-home library. They were also able to give each students a stuffed animal to be there for the student while they learned to read. Each ‘study buddy’ had a handwritten note tied to it, to encourage the students to do their best.
And the help the church has given doesn’t just stop at the students. “When you’re on empty, you have nothing to give,” notes Leinius. So, the church also works to help teachers, by providing school supplies so they don’t have to dig into their own pockets to cover the shortfall. Kristie Hayes, another member of the church, resumed sending out monthly pick-me-up emails to the principals which they then would share with both teachers and staff.
They also donated hand-made cards for teachers to write to their students, to try and make up for the lack of one-on-one interaction that was lacking while studying from home.
And when the students returned to school, there was a large Welcome Back table along with little bottles of hand sanitizer for everyone.
Inside the schools, Kensington is helping fund vital renovations to school buildings, as well as helping with programs like a Kindness initiative, the Kaleo Kids program to encourage an interest in music and IMAGine is a new program designed to help Pontiac High School students.
And, amazingly, for all the things that Kensington does to help the Pontiac Schools, they see themselves getting as much out of it as anyone. “It’s always nice to do some huge thing,” said Leinius, “but I’m finding more and more all the small things really matter; the little touches that let students and staff know that they are all cared about and that they matter.”
Thank you very much, neighbor!