Hancock Church has worked on several projects this past year to benefit the Russell School through our relationship with City Mission Society. Gwyn Rohrer wrote up a great Faith In Action story about their last visit, and what the Russell School has been able to achieve for their students.

Russell School 2013-3

Good morning!

This past week the Christian Service Committee had the great opportunity to visit the Russell Elementary School in Dorchester. Many of you might have read about this school earlier this month in the Boston Globe. They won the “Find Your Balance Challenge”, a nationwide school health competition.  What is so remarkable about this is the school is beating the odds. They don’t have a gym. There are no sinks in the kitchen so they can’t cook food on campus. They have to bring in food every day and these meals are lacking leafy greens and vegetables. But even with all of these things stacking against them they have focused on making nutrition and health a priority for the students. They bring in new fruits and vegetables for students to try for snacks instead of chips and junk food. They learn about nutrition and how to stay healthy. They transformed an unsafe empty lot full of trash into an outdoor classroom full of plants, paths, mosaics, and leaning opportunities.

Recently the school has created a community garden and everyone is involved. There are kindergarten nutritionists, 5th grade farmers, 3rd grade carpenters who created the raised beds. Teachers, students, families, community members… everyone has their hands in this project. When we learned about the work Russell was doing and have yet to do we knew Hancock had to be involved. And because of our own involvement in the Lexington community garden it seemed only natural to help with Russell’s as well.

This school is the essence of hope. They have so little and yet are doing so very much. They handle their obstacles with grace and see each new day as a gift to teach something new.

Later this year we are going to be collecting backpacks and polo shirts for the school so keep your eyes open for that!

If you have any questions in the meantime about the school, their garden, and our involvement just find someone of CSC and we’d be happy to have a conversation with you…

Russell School 2013

Hancock’s relationship with City Mission Society has spanned over 140 years.  Although Manger Sunday and the Christmas Shop are the most visible activity we have with CMS, we work with them in other ways as well, both financially and through service opportunities.  Recent service projects have included a sock drive, which benefitted one of CMS’s partners in Boston, and several activities during the past year to benefit CMS’s partner, the Russell School in Dorchester.

The Russell School is a Boston Public School known as one of the poorest in Boston.  Virtually all students receive subsidized breakfast and lunches, but the school doesn’t have the resources to provide students with healthy meals or adequate space for their physical education program.

CMS asked for help for the Russell School.  Last year’s recycling drive provided bicycles with helmets and locks for a dozen children.  When asked how we could help early this spring, they asked for copy paper (teachers had to provide their own paper after the school ran out) and snacks for students during the MCAS. Christian Service Committee delivered a car full of copy paper and snacks.

The Russell School recently applied for and received a $30,000 grant which was matched by a surprise $30,000 check and visit from Robert Kraft.  They were the only school chosen nationwide and funds will go toward a functional cafeteria and renovated gymnasium.  The Russell School also built an outdoor classroom and vegetable gardens.  Members of Christian Service visited the new space and donated another $1000 toward their wellness program and garden efforts.

Check out the Russell School online  HERE.

Russell School 2013-2