by Lindsey Hazel
Hi! My name is Lindsey and I‘m really excited to share a little about myself, my passion for working in impoverished Latino communities, and how the gospel of sharing God’s love inspires me every day.
I work for Denver Public Schools in the southwest region of Denver at Lincoln High School, located at the intersection of Federal and Evans. Lincoln is 99% latino with almost every student living at or below the poverty line. It also has one of the lowest graduation rates in all of Denver with less than 70% of students graduating from high school.
The struggles that students face everyday are real—from hunger and homelessness to gang violence in their homes and neighborhood. One example is a student that I work with named Christian. Christian lives with his mom and dad, both of whom work full time jobs. Their salaries, however, are not sufficient to provide for Christian and his two younger siblings, especially with rent in Denver rapidly increasing. As a result, Christian works a 30 hour week at a nursing home, in addition to attending school, in order to buy food for his family. He often misses school because he is tired.
Studies show that the most effective way to help families overcome poverty is through education, education for both students and their parents. Once parents become more involved in their children’s education, their children tend to increase their attendance and academic achievement.
Listening to the sermon series on money, and tangible ways that we can use our money to support the gospel, my mind immediately jumped to Christian and how we can support his family, and so many other families at Lincoln.
One of the initiatives I lead at Lincoln is a parent engagement initiative. Each month I conduct a series of parent trainings. Once parents attend these trainings, learn about the school and the how important education is, they are more likely to become involved at the school and strong advocates for education. As a result, their students perform better at school, are more likely to graduate and help to move their families out of poverty.
In order to increase attendance at parent trainings, I always try to offer a gift card raffle to parent participants in attendance, which often doubles parent attendance. So today, I would like to ask the congregation of advent for support of the parent training initiative at Lincoln, both through prayers and the purchase a $10-$20 gift card to King Soopers or Walmart. The purpose of the giftcard is twofold- through a gift card raffle at my next parent trainings, I will be able to provide a family like Christian’s a little extra support around the holiday season, and secondly, I will be able to invite parents into the school community, allowing them to become empowered and to positively influence their children’s education.