What do you do when your plans fall apart? Last summer we hosted Project Transformation, a summer literacy program for low-income children. While there were some definite challenges (it took a toll on our building and our energy, and we did not have Vacation Bible School for our own children), there were many pluses. Through Project Transformation we connected with our neighborhood in significant ways. All the children who completed the program went back to school with maintained or improved reading levels.
Throughout the fall, we prayed and talked about whether or not to host Project Transformation again this next summer. We found a way to do Vacation Bible School collaboratively, with East Woods Presbyterian Church. We worked with the PT staff to address the issues that led to the chaos. We decided to apply to host PT again.
Then we heard that due to a lack of a sustainable funding source, Project Transformation had to close. I was really disappointed. I was totally bummed. And I was angry at the systems that failed to support this great program.
What do you do when your plans fall apart? I contacted the PT Board chair and learned a little more about the funding problems. That calmed me down and kept me from firing off a “carefully worded lament” that I probably would have regretted later. (Whew!) And I began to dream again, along with our Mill Plain PT Connect Team.
We have the beginnings of a new plan to format our own scaled-down version. I’m not sure what we’ll call it yet. We are working on putting together our own curriculum, building on the strengths of PT and drawing on the resources we have within our own congregation. We are imagining a program that will be held two mornings a week for five weeks. While not as intensive as PT which ran for seven weeks, four days a week and six hours a day, this feels do- able for us and it will keep children stimulated and exposed to reading during the middle of the summer.
We are in the process of contacting other partners, many of whom worked with Project Transformation and who might be willing to work with us. I talked with the Family and Community Resource officers at Mill Plain and Hearthwood Schools, the source of most of our children last summer.
And I’m excited again. What do you do when your plans fall apart? You grieve and then you go back to work. Stay tuned for more information.