Serve Team volunteers create activities at Turner for Children’s Day, coming April 30

Serve Team volunteers create activities at Turner for Children’s Day, coming April 30
Posted on 04/23/2021
Serve Team volunteers create activities at Turner for Children’s Day, coming April 30

Serve Team Volunteers_Asbury Church_Children's Day

Reesha Brown Edwards
PISD Communications

A group of volunteers from Asbury United Methodist Church visited Turner Elementary School this week to create an educational and fun activity for first graders to use when they receive their books during Children’s Day/Book Day, April 30.

The activity will allow students to draw faces that express how they feel. The activity is based on one of the books that the students will receive next Friday, called “The Feelings Book,” by Todd Parr, which illustrates a wide range of moods in a colorful way.

The Serve Team has supported Turner Elementary for many years by providing tutoring and mentoring services for students. This was the first time the volunteers, all members of Asbury’s “Serve Team,” have been able to return to Turner this year due to safety restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic.

“With COVID, we weren’t able to bring our mentors back in, so this is a way we can at least partner with the school,” said Paula Zikogiannis, a member of the Serve Team.

Donna Duke, Turner Principal, said the students missed the Serve Team because they are “like grandparents” to the kids.

“Our students were used to having those folks come in and help out, whether it was tutoring math or reading,” Duke said. “I can’t wait to start it back up again because that has a significant impact on our kids – not only academically but emotionally as well.”

While volunteers were unable to mentor students throughout the year, they still found ways to show their support.

“They have supported our faculty and staff all throughout the year -- leaving candy bars and some kind of sign that says, ‘Here’s an extra payday for all that you’re doing through this hard time,’” said Duke.

The volunteers missed returning to Turner as well.

Keith Palmer, former principal at Turner Elementary, attended the volunteer day, not realizing how much he missed being on the Texan campus.

“When I retired, I knew that I missed the people but I didn’t realize just how much,” he said. “The staff is like family. It’s great to be back.”

Giving back is nothing new for Asbury volunteers as it is part of the church’s mission, Parmer said.

“Any time we get the opportunity to come out and serve others to make their lives better, that’s what we do. We’ve been part of many initiatives and projects, but going out to the schools touches everybody’s hearts,” said Parmer.

With COVID still looming, Duke said it has been nice to know that there are people out there who care.

“We have been supported by them, but not only what they are doing for the kids, but through prayers,” said Duke. “They posted a sign on our bulletin board that says, ‘We’re praying for you every day.’ And that means a lot to us. I can’t thank them enough.”

The activities have been bagged up and are ready for distribution. Each elementary school will host book distribution events. Check back next Friday for the coverage!