I am asking your church to participate in Jackson's church/school partnership program called ARISE2Read. A-R-I-S-E, an acronym for A Renewal In Student Education and Evangelism, was conceived and developed at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis out of concern for failing schools and growing poverty. ARISE2Read Jackson Madison County seeks to provide love and support to our public schools and to facilitate a literacy initiative called Team Read.
My request is that you examine our program through this website and prayerfully consider how your church can participate. Then, contact me to discuss how to proceed. I am happy to meet with you or to present ARISE2Read to your large or small groups. TEAMRead is our primary concern, but supporting our schools, their needs and their people is a broad responsibility with service opportunities for everyone.
I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about ARISE2Read Jackson.
James Christoferson, Director
The facts that support the need for ARISE2Read Jackson are based on current and alarming data from the U.S. Census Bureau related to poverty, not only in cities like Detroit, but right here in Jackson-Madison County. Almost 73 percent of students in JMCSS qualify for free or reduced lunch, and these students start school much less prepared than their peers in more affluent communities.
The U.S. Department of Justice states, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence and crime is welded to reading failure." Many details in a child’s life are beyond our control, but the right to literacy is as simple as “each one teach one.”
ARISE2Read calls on our community to invest one hour a week, not to convert, but because we are converted. If our children are on grade level as they begin to read to learn, studies show that 89 percent of children of poverty go on to graduate high school.
Across our city children with the same God-given potential as children in wealthier communities are growing up physically, emotionally and spiritually lost. We have the resources to meet those needs: more importantly, we have the Bread of Life!
“The whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Perhaps you've read this website objectively. You agree that the problem exists and something should be done, but you do not share a faith in Christ, and you feel strongly that you cannot support something that mixes education and evangelism.
ARISE2Read does not!
ARISE2Read supports the Jackson-Madison County School System's literacy initiative, TEAMRead. We recruit volunteers and help to implement the program. We follow the Jackson-Madison County School System's policy that prohibits the sharing of the gospel during school hours, and we stress this to all our volunteers.
The premise on which ARISE was founded stems from a concern for the educational achievement gap, which, according to Nicole Baker Fulgham in Educating All God's Children, "arguably represents the United States' most blatant and chilling example of neglect."
I cannot look injustice in the face of these precious children and walk away knowing that, if they don't learn to read, two thirds of them could end up in jail or on welfare. ARISE2Read Jackson practices social justice, and the kind of volunteer we are seeking is someone who is kind and encouraging to the children, someone who is dependable and someone who will not try to push his personal beliefs at school.