More than 700 volunteers from The Church of the Resurrection and the community will be helping prepare Phillis Wheatley Elementary School for a new school year. This is the eighth year for Bless the School, a week-long project that runs Monday, June 16, through Saturday, June 21. Wheatley Elementary is located at 2415 Agnes. Volunteers will work shifts Monday through Thursday, 9 am-Noon, 1 pm-4 pm and 5:3 0pm-8:30 pm and on Friday and Saturday from 9 am-Noon and 1 pm-4 pm. Prep work to be done on June 10 from 10 am-2 pm and June 11 from 10:30 am-3 pm.

Bless the School brings members of the Resurrection congregation and the community together to assist the school with maintenance and repair tasks, such as painting, organizing, landscaping and cleaning. Managers Linda McClung, Ron Stauffer and Ann Carter have been involved since the project began in 2007, and thousands of volunteers have dedicated their time and energy to providing an environment that encourages both teachers and students. Over the years, they have also installed seven playgrounds, including one for students with special needs at Wheatley. Wheatley serves approximately 450 students, 50 of whom receive special needs education services.

“Wheatley Elementary is now the primary special needs facility within Kansas City School District and Resurrection has been a great partner for them,” says Ron Stauffer, one of the general managers for Bless the School. “Resurrection has also blessed the school with some great artists who share their time and talent by painting murals in the school; it really brightens up the library and makes the school a more fun place to be in. We’ve built two playgrounds at Wheatley and one of them is a special needs setup and those kids love it. They now have a place to be kids but also allow them to roll their wheelchairs onto a play area and have fun.”

Many of the people who volunteer with Bless the School talk about how much more they are doing than just cleaning and fixing-up the school, “I love meeting all the people that come out to help do this work. We have some of the nicest, most generous people I have ever met here at Resurrection and we actually have fun doing these projects,” says Stauffer.

“Last year, we had about 700-800 volunteers and it looks like this year our numbers will be similar to that. We have really great participation by our congregation and we work well together and for a great reason,” states Stauffer. With the help of the congregation members and many other volunteers from the community, this years’ Bless the School will be a special way to get involved with serving in Kansas City.

“When we leave a school after our work week, we walk away knowing that we built a nicer, cleaner, brighter, safer and healthier environment for the kids and everyone who uses the facility. Some organizations talk about how they will do something, we just go and do it,” says Stauffer.

To learn more about Bless the School and what you can do to help, register at cor.org/blesstheschool.