Literacy partnership impacts more than 300 students at Heritage Elementary

Raising the literacy rate is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty. Faithbridge United Methodist Church has taken this to heart and partnered with School of the Osage’s Heritage Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year. Through fundraising efforts, Faithbridge Church’s Books for Kids literacy program will provide every kindergarten and first grade student with one free Scholastic book a month from October through April.

“It’s very crucial for students to have the opportunity to have books in their hands to help improve their literacy skills,” said Principal Holly Birdsley of Heritage Elementary. “Every student is now able to receive a book each month through Scholastic because of the funds that you [Faithbridge] have raised and provided us. It helps build their classroom libraries at home. With your generous donation, we have impacted close to 320 students, which is amazing. And it has impacted not only our students and our teachers, but also our families.”

Representatives Barb Bierman and Bob Christy of Faithbridge Church were pleased to present a $2,350 check to Principal Holly Birdsley.

“Growing up, we weren’t very well off, so I cherished any books that I had,” said Barb Bierman, former teaching professional and current Board Chair of Faithbridge Church. “When I did get a book, I read it over and over and over again. Being able to help the school provide these books for the students - it is so meaningful to me.”

During the 2017-2018 school year, Faithbridge Church raised funds to provide every kindergarten student with a free Scholastic book a month. This school year, Faithbridge doubled its collective efforts and provided two grades with free books for their home libraries.

“Last year was a great year to have this gift provided to my classroom,” said Mrs. Willoughby, kindergarten teacher at Heritage Elementary. “I only had 1 or 2 paid Scholastic orders each month, simply because families could not afford it. When the first couple of boxes came in and I only passed books out to a couple of kids, I had several kids that crumbled because they wanted a book too. When your church started providing EVERY kid in the classroom [with] a book, it was like Christmastime when they would see the box arrive. [There were] many smiles in my classroom and the students were able to get a really great read aloud each month!”

Empowering kids through literacy is a larger initiative of United Methodist Churches across Missouri with a goal of placing 100,000 books in the hands of kids across our state this year. Faithbridge Church is proud to partner with the educators and students at School of the Osage through the Books for Kids literacy program and hopes that these books will help show the kids in our community that the church cares for them.

Faithbridge Church began 10 years ago from the idea that members wanted to bridge the gap between God and people, people to God, and people to people – hence the name Faithbridge. The church is known locally for its annual food truck ministry which feeds more than 300 families, and for its contemporary worship style. Faithbridge meets every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for service at 901 Highway 42 in Osage Beach, Missouri. Worship is provided through modern music, scripture, and use of multi-media technology. During service, nursery childcare is available for ages 0-4 and Children’s Ministry for ages 5-12.