GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A Greenwood church is giving back to the community by renovating teachers’ lounges and creating special spaces just for educators.
“Our goal is to make a difference in the community through the people who serve the community,” said Pastor Wayne Murray.
Murray is the lead Pastor at Grace Assembly of God in Greenwood. His congregation has a focus of helping teachers.
“Teachers make a huge difference in people’s lives and if they are encouraged – that is just going to multiply into the students. So, that is one of the reasons every school we have served, we want to redo the teacher’s lounge,” Murray said.
Every year hundreds of people from the congregation renovate teachers’ lounges and areas within different schools, during a special day of service. Think “Fixer Upper” school style. No more hard chairs and harsh lights. Instead, brand-new kitchens, appliances, and couches – all wrapped into an upscale ambiance.
“Many hands make light work. So, you can do so much when you are working together,” said Murray.
It’s an effort to help teachers rest, recharge and remember that the community cares.
“When someone offers to make the teacher’s lounge a comfortable, warm, inviting and a welcoming place for teachers to escape to – for even five minutes during the day. Just to refresh and re-energize. Wow, amazing! And we are so thankful,” said Julie Young.
Young is the principal at V.O. Isom Central Elementary School in Greenwood. The school’s teacher’s lounge got a surprise makeover in the summer of 2021.
“I think they have heard thank you a thousand times from many of us, because we are just grateful to know that the community cares. They care enough to give us that place to recharge – reset. So that we are ready for kids at all moments and all times of the day,” Young said.
The church made Similar upgrades to Greenwood Community High School this summer.
“I mean how many times can you say thank you?” asked Michael Gasaway. “It is just a cool-looking place.”
Gasaway is the principal at the high school and can’t thank the volunteers enough.
Along with manpower and design skills, the church spent $30,000 on the teacher’s lounge and on a new teacher-only fitness room. A place where staff can stay physically fit, keep healthy and whole. Perhaps leaving them motivated most by the simple act of kindness.
“The fact that the church and volunteers – over 200 volunteers – came here for a purpose and didn’t do it for any money whatsoever and just gave… Servant leadership to me is the best style of leadership and so when you have 200 church members coming in and serving for a greater good than just themselves, they are doing exactly what we are meant to do as people,” said Gasaway.
A gift the church says they get the most out of giving.
“We are the ones who get the joy of serving. There is joy when you give, when you serve, when you are a blessing to other people,” said Gasaway.
Grace Assembly of God has also done service projects fixing up buildings and landscaping at other schools. The church doesn’t know which teacher’s lounge is next, however, they plan to keep doing the makeovers in the future.