Five ways to help Mennonite educationby Rachel Nussbaum Eby
Mennonite educational institutions play an important role in the life of the church and the world beyond. Do you ever doubt your ability to have an impact on the world for good? This could also be true for having an impact on Mennonite education. Many want to help Mennonite education but wonder if anything one person does makes much of a difference. The following are five of many ways you can help Mennonite education:
Whether you know a little or a lot about Mennonite education, it’s good to learn more. Talk to students or alumni about their experiences and how these changed their lives. Read articles in print and online. Or focus on one institution—not necessarily located near you. Call to talk with someone about what is exciting and challenging for the institution, subscribe to its publications or news service and explore its Web site. Consider a personal visit to give you an even better glimpse.
Advocate for Mennonite educational institutions by talking about them with your family and your congregation. Keep the option of attending or supporting these institutions in front of people—not only potential students and parents but potential teachers and professors. Encourage your congregation to learn more by having a service about church education, a Mennonite education display or a guest speaker from the Mennonite educational community. Parents of students, students and alumni can personalize the reasons to support Mennonite education.
If you have the opportunity, mentor others. Make arrangements so the church youth group can visit a Mennonite educational institution. Explore the option of Mennonite education with another person or family and connect them with alumni. If you feel comfortable doing so, walk through the process of applying to a Mennonite school or college and applying for financial aid and grants.
4. Give time
Be a prayer warrior for an individual student, specific institution or for Mennonite education in general. Donate items to schools and higher education institutions; out-of-date furniture just may be what is needed for an upcoming play or fund-raising auction. Contact a Mennonite educational institution. There may be ways you can volunteer—even from a distance.
5. Give money
The ways to give money are many. You can give through your congregation or as an individual. You can give once a year or monthly, in small or large amounts, by check or online, to one institution or split among several. If you live near a PreK-12 Mennonite school, seriously consider it as an option for your child by learning more about what the school has to offer. Encourage your children or grandchildren to attend a Mennonite higher education institution by offering regular support; even $50 a year toward tuition helps.
Rachel Nussbaum Eby is director of communications for the Mennonite Education Agency.
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