Posted August 1, 2014
Later this year, residents at Wichita Presbyterian Manor may be getting some new “vicarious grandchildren,” as Greg Schmidt puts it.
Presbyterian Manor is developing a partnership with Riverside Leadership Magnet Elementary School to benefit residents as well as students, said Greg, who serves as chaplain and activities director. It’s also a family affair. Greg’s son, Baxter, starts his first year of teaching fifth grade this month at Riverside. He will be helping to coordinate the partnership.
“From a Christian perspective, our residents will get to practice service, which they hold dear, and they get the fun-filled part of developing a relationship with a kid,” Greg said.
Details are still to be ironed out with the school, which is in the Riverside neighborhood near downtown Wichita. The general goal is twofold. One is to give the children a place to share what they research and learn, possibly by making presentations to Presbyterian Manor residents or leading them in activities. The second objective is to allow Presbyterian Manor residents to volunteer at the school, perhaps through tutoring or reading with children in all grades, or helping with their after-school care program.
Greg said he doesn’t expect to begin any activities until mid-fall, to allow school personnel to settle into the academic year.
“We’re going to leave room for the creation of new things as we go,” Greg said. “I said, let’s start simple, do those things well, and build from there.”
Up until a few years ago, Presbyterian Manor had a similar relationship with Valley Center Middle School, but school funding cuts made it difficult to continue, he said. Presbyterian Manor residents got an early introduction to some of the Riverside students when the school chorale came to sing for them last year.
“For them to be able to nurture a young life, to share love and compassion while they’re reading with somebody, is an excellent opportunity,” Greg said.
Contact us if you would like to participate in the Riverside Elementary partnership.