1st Unitarian: UU/Schools Partnership

art by children

Latest News
Newcomer Basics
Our Beliefs & Values
Communications & Connections
Our Ministries
Worship & Sermons
Contact Us :: Click to Email

UU/Schools Partnership

We welcome volunteers who want to help students at Rochester's School 22 and School 15 - our church's longtime partners -- succeed in school. Consistent attention, encouragement and tutoring can make a difference!

Who we are:
At our peak in 2012-13, we had more than 100 weekly volunteers, ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, volunteering at our partner schools. We come from First Unitarian Church of Rochester and from the larger community. Please recruit a friend!

What is the partnership:
The UU/Schools Partnership Program recruits, trains and supports volunteers who tutor and assist students and teachers at the two schools. The Partnership also raises money to pay for school supplies and student enrichment activities, including field trips. In 2011-12 and 2012-13, we've paid for a visiting teaching artist at both schools in memory of Stuart Burke, our previous coordinator. Donations are welcome anytime to our church fundraising account, #2305. We also provide bags of food to needy students each Friday at School 22 (see BackPack Food, below). First Unitarian Church pays a stipend to our part-time coordinator from the general church budget, so everyone who donates to the church helps pay for this commitment to urban students' education. Our program is also part of Friends of Educational Excellence (FREE) Partnerships, a network of 10 school-community partnerships that share ideas and help each other grow and improve to better meet the needs.

volunteer with student

School 22 (Lincoln School) is at 27 Zimbrich Street in northeast Rochester, off Joseph/Seneca Avenues. School 15 (Children's School of Rochester) is at 494 Averill Ave. in southeast Rochester, off Monroe Avenue. Both schools have a high percentage of low-income and minority students. Half of the students at School 15, by design, are refugees. School 22 has a significant population of Spanish-speaking students.

When do people volunteer:
We try to find a match between your availability and preferences (to help with reading or math, with younger or older students, for example) and the needs at the schools. Most volunteers help for one or more hours weekly during the school day (between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.), from October through May or June, guided by teachers. We also have had volunteers in School 15's after-school program (2:10 to 5 pm, certain days/months of the year) and at one-time or short-term special events/projects. More details below. Or, if you have a special skill or talent that could benefit students, talk to Chris Farnum about how to make it happen.

volunteer with student

Monthly option:
For people who want to commit to helping monthly rather than weekly, the Spino Literacy Foundation has a once-a-month reading program at School 22. It requires one hour at lunchtime on the first Wednesday of each month. Volunteers read a book to a young child and contribute $2 toward the cost, and the child keeps the book.

Short-term option:
Some volunteers are only available for a one-time or short-term project at school. If that's the case, contact our coordinator to get on her "short-term projects" list and she'll tell you about opportunities as they come up. Past examples: Help at an evening event for students and families at School 22 or at Children's School 15. Be a chaperone on a class field trip. Help second-graders write and publish their own book at Children's School 15.

BackPack Food program:
Since December 2011, we've sponsored a BackPack Food program at School 22, which provides the neediest students with a bag of nonperishable food each Friday to eat at home over the weekend. We pay for this with donations to church account #2306, including church service plate collections one weekend per year. People ages 8 and older can volunteer for one or more food-packing parties, held about once a month on a Thursday night or a Saturday morning at Foodlink. Great way to meet others from church and see immediate results of your efforts!

volunteer with student

Our history:
The Partnership was initiated by the Urban League's call to action in 1985, which asked churches to support better education for Rochester's children. In 1988, First Unitarian Church's Social Responsibility Committee advertised for volunteers. Both prospective volunteers and teachers from inner city schools responded, and our program was born at School 22. In 1991, our partnership expanded to include Children's School 15 when that school started.

Sharing warmth:
The church's Uknitarian effort -- knitting, sewing or buying warm hats, scarves and gloves/mittens -- provides many items for the nurses at our Schools Partnership schools to provide to children in need.

volunteer with student

For more:
Contact coordinator Vicki Robertson, schools2215@gmail.com, 585-461-4282. Or click in the upper right corner of this page to download the volunteer application. Choose Excel format if you're comfortable typing your answers in the grid, saving and emailing your application. Choose the pdf format if you prefer to print the application and hand-write your answers. Printed copies of the application are also available in the church workroom (first vertical holder as you enter the room), or from Vicki Robertson.

August 27 2014