By Lisa Siedlecki – Jericho Partnership
For the first time in its 10-year history, Jericho is expanding its role and partnering with the City of Danbury in a new and exciting way. Leaders of our city have identified areas of significant need, and Jericho feels called to step in and serve. Jericho’s primary role: CONNECT, encourage, equip and empower people of faith and people of goodwill to further transform our city. So, whether someone has grown up in the church or has never been to one, CityServe needs them.
“We love and are deeply committed to our ministry partners and, of course, they remain at the core of who Jericho is, but this is an opportunity for us to expand our service model,” said Jericho President Carrie L. Amos. “CityServe is all about connecting our churches to areas of need in the city. I am so excited about and inspired by the potential for this initiative.”
Based on a model established by The Luis Palau Association in Portland, Oregon, CityServe provides an opportunity for people of faith to make significant and long-term impact in their city by addressing areas of great need.
“We’ve got a tremendous gift in this Partnership: 26 congregations who pray fervently for our city, who serve in our city and who want to be better connected to our city. We’ve got an army of volunteers ready for mobilization and the means to mobilize more,” Amos said. “So we went to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, and Superintendent of Schools Sal Pascarella, and asked, ‘Are there other areas of need where we can help?’”
There was no hesitation. The two leaders cited the city’s chronically homeless population and a Title I Danbury elementary school – South Street School – as two areas where the needs are the most compelling.
Project CleanStart, announced by Boughton in his State of the City address last month, will give the city’s homeless men and women the opportunity to earn compensation, in the form of gift cards for food and services, for being on work teams tasked with cleaning up the city. Mayor Boughton named The Jericho Partnership as the local non-profit he would like to partner with on this project. Jericho’s CityServe volunteers will provide job coaching, and will support the logistics for this program.
South Street School, which has 378 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, needs assistance in three main areas:
- bolstering students’ reading and other educational skills
- assisting in building beautification
- supporting Parent-Teacher Association activities
Jericho envisions volunteers going into the school to read with students, participate in recess and lunch programs, take part in initiatives to support teachers and participate in building beautification project days. Jericho’s main role will be connecting volunteers to various service roles. Part of the connecting aspect will be vetting, equipping and training volunteers.
“I feel like we have been sent a group of guardian angels. Thank you so very much!” said Heather Pellicone, South Street School’s principal.
“This is all about inspiring people and pulling together as a community to impact others,” Boughton said. “It only takes one person, or one non-profit, or one company to raise a hand and say they want to do something amazing and touch lives in a meaningful way. That creates critical mass … and Jericho is leading the way.”
For more info on CityServe, or to volunteer, serve or support call Jericho Partnership at (203) 791-1180.