Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Give the Kids an Opportunity: Our 2nd PTO Cookout at T H Watkins

UPDATE: We are so grateful to and reporter Monica Grimaldo for covering the 5th Graders and Leaders & Teachers at T H Watkins.  What a great story, thank you!

Look what when we make pathways for kids to serve!
I'm writing you from the keys of my smartphone in the Cafeteria at T. H. Watkins Elementary School at 2501 7th Avenue in is Lake Charles. It's about 4 O'Clock Tuesday, September 24, 2013, and the 5th Graders will be showing up at 4:30. Today is not our first time here. We've come several times already to mentor kids, give a little money for the school's needs, attend a day-long training to implement the Leader In Me (Yeah!), and to get reading volunteers started in 6 classrooms here. There are about a dozen of us engaged at this school, from a couple different churches, with some more friends ready to get started.

Why are we doing this? Well, because this is our city, full of neighbors. Neighbors to serve and befriend. Neighbors to learn from and to share learning a with.Also, Jesus said that little children are way important in His Kingdom, and since we follow Jesus, we say RightOn!
Collin joined in the can smell the welcoming
environment coming off those chicken quarters!

So today our goal is to support the great work the teachers and leaders are doing here, our part being to make the environment here more inviting. Like the aroma from the BBQ pit draws you in, the service of others draws us in. Ms. Victorian, the principal here, told me she has some great parents here, but sometimes it's hard to get everyone at PTO gatherings, so I said, "Hey, I'll cook for them, making it easier for them to come." Then it hit us, since we are doing the Leader In Me at Watkins, let's lead the oldest kids here, 5th grade, to host the PTO cookout!
Mr. Hollier teaches 5th grade, and her kids were fantastic
servants today, soaking up the leadership learning.

So a few weeks ago in August that is what we did. It was fantastic! Kids were engaged and they so impressed us and the staff and the parents.
This awesome dad was the designated rib cutter.
They were fall-off-the-bone, so his station was smile central!

Since they were faithful with first things, we want to give them more responsibility and opportunity. So today we are cooking ribs and chicken for the parents and families for Math Night at Watkins!  I'll post some more pics and story later.

We are doing this because God has already loved us. And now we can love others, no strings, no catch. We are doing this so that our city can have a more clear view of who Jesus really is. The way that happens in my world is through relationships. There won't be any preaching from me tonight, and we're not sneaking gospel tracts onto the rib plates. We are here with an ultimate motive, but never an ulterior motive!
After the parents and kids learned at Math Night, all 200+
of us enjoyed the Ribs & Chicken dinner.  Serving that many
in a few minutes was a bit of a blur.
The T H Watkins team were tireless servants!
Because Jesus is alive, then from Goosport 2 Graywood, theCityShouldBeDifferent.

And the Ribs and Chicken should be way tasty!

Our goal at T H Watkins is to have 50 people from at least 5 different churches engaged at this school this year. The teachers have been asked and given us times and places to go read to the kids there, and let them read to you.  About 30 minutes a week, lots of times available.  We're ready, so get in the game!  or call/text Paul 794-9898, twitter @paulpettefer, or


Paul Pettefer, lead volunteer servant to the city

Serving just takes the Want To - Our 1st PTO Cookout at T H Watkins, Aug 2013

Last year I was able to get to share briefly with the Elementary School Principals of Calcasieu Parish about Engagement and getting more people volunteering to help the schools accomplish their mission.  Ms. Godfrey, Assistant Principal at T H Watkins Elementary School called me and asked me to come to their school and work with a student who had some challenges.  I'm so glad she did!

Several good things have transpired, one of which is we were able to serve the school by providing a meal for the families who attended the 1st 2 PTO meeting this year at T H Watkins.  Even better than that, however, is that we allowed this opportunity to engage the 5th Graders at Watkins in the work.

The 5th Graders help in planning, preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up.

They were so engaged in the August PTO that we decided to do it again in September. Since they were faithful in the 1st things, they were given more, and the menu went from burgers and hot dogs in August to Chicken and Ribs in September.

Here are some pic's from the 1st PTO in August.  We'll add more to the story tomorrow.