New Hope Church issued a challenge to Manteca High teachers to help impact the lives of students in positive ways that go beyond what they do in the classroom.
Each teacher was given $75 gift cards by the New Hope Church community to use however they deemed fit through a charitable deed.
Manteca High Assistant Principal Troy Fast said the charitable deed movement started when they were approached by the New Hope church leadership. They invited the high school staff to breakfast to explain their plan to not just serve others in need but to do so in a manner that it might inspire students to follow suit when they came across someone needing help in the community
The seed money of $75 per teacher was designed to set in motion what church pastors hoped with be a chain reaction.
Pastor Ken Worley told a group of Manteca High leadership students Tuesday morning that the endeavor’s theme of “Your Story Matters” not only mirrors the theme of their church but they hoped teachers would give life to by jotting down mini stories of what they did with the money to share with their students.
Every act of kindness by some 100 teachers is being written down on story cards for others to read and hopefully emulate, Worley explained. The three pastors— including Tim Kemptner and Braxton Jens — had assured school staff there were no strings attached to the monetary donations and they could use the money however they saw fit.
One teacher wrote on her card: “About three weeks ago one of my students’ dad passed away suddenly. The family includes mom and three children. My husband and I donated flowers for the funeral service. When I delivered the casket piece, I saw the casket and realized how financially tight it was for this family. I had never seen a wooden box type casket. I was thankful the funeral home contacted me and asked about flowers for my student’s father. Otherwise I would have never known about the situation. I gave my student the church gift card to further help her family in any way.”
Another teacher wrote: “In a journal entry, my student shared that her dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer just the day before. She expressed that she wanted to purchase a Teddy Bear for her mom that could include a recorded message with the voice of her dad so her mom could keep it forever. I used my gift card to buy the bear for her.”
Fast related a story told to him by a teacher who noted he had driven by what appeared to be a destitute mom and her small children on the way to school on Moffat Boulevard every morning. The teacher said he finally stopped at their home and gave them back packs, noting the mother was actually jumping up and down about the kindness of his act. The teacher said he wished he had stopped to help them earlier.
Among the other acts of kindness was one involving Leonard Photography that donated a senior portrait session/package to a deserving student that could not afford having photos taken. A couple of teachers raised a “pay it forward” challenge to help him to purchase a new “senior session wardrobe”.
Teachers and students have been donating to animal shelters and helping less fortunate students. One teacher is even making an entire Thanksgiving meal for a family in need.
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