Scannelli column: A new community resource

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 25, 2019

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The Clemmons Community Foundation has supported and been involved with the Interfaith Alliance of Clemmons and Lewisville since its birth in 2018 under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Vincent Howell. It’s inspiring to learn about the existing efforts of the faith community to help those in need — both here and abroad. No question that our faith campuses are filled with people who are filled with compassion and care and a desire to “give back.”   

For nearly a year, the Interfaith Alliance has been chipping away with some good progress at four local goals in support of school students, but two of those goals have remained without a solid plan — until now. One of the biggest needs and challenges has been tutoring and mentoring. Sounds easy and straightforward, but our discussions suggested otherwise. Questions peppered our meetings, such as: How many students? Which schools? What subject material? How often? Where will tutoring happen? What do tutors need to know? So many questions! Everyone at the table had partial answers, but as can happen when full answers are unknown, the goal bumped to the next meeting — then the next — with no progress in sight. Spinning out of a sea of good questions without full answers, an idea was born — we needed someone with time and experience dedicated to the goal. We needed someone to visit each school and collect specific information about the specific needs. Then, the same person could meet with each faith community to determine interest, resources and other assets and serve as a thought partner in generating solutions and strategies. Finally, the person could help others connect the dots to bring it all together in the form of a plan and action. Great idea?   

At the same time that this idea of a part-time role was born, Lewisville was gaining a new family — the Scoggins. We met Alexandra “Lexi” Scoggin and, with raised hands, we were humbly reminded of the value of faith in our work. Scoggin’s background and experience mirrored exactly what our goals needed — a community engagement facilitator to work with the faith community and the schools. Scoggin started in the role just a few weeks ago. Perhaps you’ve met her? She is serving as the data collector and thought partner to ask questions, share information and through discussion, ignite and inspire practical, helpful solutions to student needs. We could not be more excited because now, with Scoggin’s skillful help, those pesky, seemingly-impossible goals have a real chance of becoming the reality we dreamed they could be.   

If you are not connected to a faith community, it may sound especially puzzling why the faith community would be called upon to help. The answer? Under every roof of our faith campuses you’ll find business and community leaders, skilled talent representing every occupation, retired skilled talent who haven’t retired from wanting to make a difference, parents and grandparents who care about the schools, and teens who care about their peers and younger siblings. The common thread is compassion, care, and a “call” or desire to help others. Most faith communities also have buildings with rooms that are not all used 100% of the week — and some are close to schools availing the possible opportunity for accessible after-school homework or recreation programs. Our faith community is a treasure trove.

I’m hoping you are also excited as you read this and wondering if you can help. Yes, you can! If you have a special heart for working with students and want to do more to help our communities’ kids and youth, then grab a peer or two and call your faith leader or call Scoggin at 330-881-0969 to talk through the needs and your interests. Lexi can share what’s in the works and help connect you to the needs, organizations, and/or programs for our youth. And, it is summer — a great time to take stock, listen to your heart, and plan with others for the start of the school year. Welcome Lexi! We celebrate you and the important work our faith communities are doing now and in the year ahead, with our teachers perhaps breathing a bit easier thanks to the extra support.

Sandi Scannelli, is president and CEO of the Clemmons Community Foundation. Contact her at .