Dec. 16, 2016
seeks for Clarence
Farrington School 61, where she serves as principal. During her tenure, she
has made connections with local banks, businesses and community organizations
to meet the needs of her students, staff and even parents.
But the relationship between Clarence Farrington, an IPS
school on the city’s west side, and Brownsburg-based Connection Pointe Christian Church
takes the concept of community partnerships to another level.
“This building has multiple partnerships, but I would say
that our partnership with Connection Pointe stands out,” said Wilson Frye.
“They serve in so many ways. It’s really hard to put into words what they do.
But they do about 1,000 things for us.”
That number may not be as much of an embellishment as it
sounds. The multitude of good deeds that Connection Pointe does for Clarence
in a Backpack: Each Thursday, Connection Pointe members pack bags of food
for students to take home after school on Fridays to ensure they have a
nutritious meal each weekend.
Neighborhood: A program that features three events throughout the year,
including a coat giveaway in October; a Thanksgiving open house, including a
meal and fun activities, in November; and an annual Christmas event in December,
which includes free toys that parents can “shop” for and wrap onsite, a
breakfast, as well as clothes and toiletries for students.
Tutoring: Twice a week, members of Connection Pointe’s youth ministry
provide onsite tutoring for Clarence Farrington students.
The church provides frequent meals and treats for staff
during Professional Development Day. Members also redecorated the school’s
office, parent lounge and community room with new, modern furniture and other
Yet, for Wilson Frye and the staff at Clarence Farrington, Project Classroom sent the community
partnership bar into another stratosphere.
Tweaking its focus of support for the school, Buddy
Faulkner, Community Impact director at Connection Pointe, said the church
wanted to provide more support for teachers.
“We thought, ‘If they (teachers) feel supported and are
getting the resources they need, then, of course, that’s going to trickle down
and the students will benefit from that,” said Faulkner, who as a young boy
attended Clarence Farrington from kindergarten through second grade.
Faulkner asked each member of the staff to write down five
things they needed to make their classrooms more successful. The sky was the
limit, but teachers were initially thinking too small, he said.
“They were having a hard time grasping the concept and were
writing things down like, ‘I need 100 more notebooks,’” said Faulkner, who
pushed back. “I told them, ‘I want you to dream big.’”
“We provided everything from No. 2 pencils to $800
technology cards and everything in between,” said Michelle Jackson, a member of
Connection Pointe and the project manager of the church’s Community Impact
team. “As a ministry, there was no hesitation to fulfill those requests. Even
the teachers that we have in our congregation said that was the best gift we
could have given teachers, who often come out of their own pockets to buy
things they need for their classrooms.”
In all, Wilson Frye said the gifts provided to the staff
through Project Classroom totaled more than $65,000. In the end, however, it’s
not about the money as much as it is about the relationships that have been
built throughout this partnership.
“What’s so special about this partnership is that they have
taken every step to get to know this community,” said Wilson Frye about the
Connection Pointe team and its members. “They are very big relationally. I meet
with the Connection Pointe team monthly, not for asks but for relationship
It’s a relationship that touches the school’s
administration, teachers, staff, students and parents.
Chris Wyatt said her three grandsons have benefitted from
the support Connection Pointe provides to the school. They have received free
coats and Christmas toys, which have helped to lessen the financial strain for
Wyatt, who is raising her grandchildren, ages 4, 6 and 8.
On Dec. 10, Wyatt was at the school participating in the
annual Christmas event that Connection Pointe hosts, in which parents can
“shop” for three toys each for their children. Armed with a large blue bag,
Wyatt collected the toys — purchased by church members — which she is sure will
put a smile on her grandsons’ faces on Christmas morning.
“It’s a struggle to keep my utilities and rent paid, so
every little bit helps. This just takes one less worry off of me,” said Wyatt,
fighting back tears. “Connection Pointe is a wonderful support in the
community. They just put their arms around you and hug you. Everything that
they’ve done for us — from school clothes to Christmas gifts — I want to make
sure that I can do for someone else because they’ve done so much for me.”
For Connection Pointe, the goal is simply to meet a need in
“It’s the best thing as a parishioner and an employee at
Connection Pointe Church to be able to give back to IPS students and families,
as well as teachers and staff,” said Jackson.
“What Connection Pointe does is come alongside and say, ‘Let
us wrap our arms around you. Let us give you what you need. Let us remove
barriers to student learning by supporting teachers in a way that’s genuine,’”
said Wilson Frye. “We’re able to see a direct connection to student outcomes.
And I think from a partnership standpoint, the work that we do wouldn’t be
possible without a partner like Connection Pointe. Their generosity knows no