For decades, First Presbyterian has been focused on children and their families. From the development of our Learning Centers to provide for early childhood education and after school support to our work with Haiti with Hollywood CARES, God has called us to reach out to children and families in need.
Over 15 years ago, that led us to become one of the first congregations in South Florida to reach out in partnership with a local elementary school. Over those years, that partnership has focused on meeting a wide variety of needs. For years, we sponsored a FCAT camp for struggling students at the school. Church volunteers worked with kids in small groups to help them excel on this achievement test that was so crucial to their educational futures. And throughout the year, church members have volunteered as on-sight mentors and tutors to children right on the
Hollywood Central campus. One year, one of our members, created an Eagle Scout project that renovated the Peace Plaza at the school, and another year, we stepped up to provide for a single mom, whose son tragically died in a car accident. From working with the funeral home to raising funds to meet the family’s basic needs as she and her son’s twin brother dealt with this horrific loss, our church was there.
In other times, that partnership has meant buying a set of bikes to be raffled off at the PTA Spaghetti Dinner or providing a uniform fund for families who couldn’t afford this expense. And every year, it has led us to provide food and gifts for families in need during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, as well as to host an annual Sunday where we celebrate the teachers and staff of Hollywood Central in our worship gathering.
All that engagement has garnered awards over the years from school partner of the year for Broward County to special recognitions by the school board. But it has never been about the rewards. It has always been about being there for children and families, who often face incredibly difficult circumstances. We hope that in the things that we do, and the presence we bring, that they will somehow feel and know Jesus’ love for them, a love that is unconditional and always available.