Silicon Valley is a place of great prosperity but also deep poverty. This dichotomy plays out in education. Students in wealthy communities attend schools well-funded by parent organizations that help with the upkeep of the school, with adequate supplies, and with resources for school trips. Students in poorer communities attend schools with limited resources for these necessities.
New Beginnings Community Church (NBCC) in Redwood City recognizes the importance of a good education as a way to help students in disadvantaged communities break the cycle of poverty. There are many barriers to learning for low-income students, including poor health, trauma, hunger, and even language barriers. NBCC partners with organizations that not only tackle early childhood literacy but also take a holistic approach to a child’s learning.
For the last four years, NBCC has sponsored a program it calls “Be Rich” as part of its Transforming Communities outreach efforts. This year’s title was slightly changed to “Be Crazy Rich” to encourage extravagant love and service to the Bay Area community during the holiday season.
The NBCC church community responded in a “crazy” way.
NBCC set a goal to raise $60,000 to donate to two local schools in disadvantaged areas and to non-profit organizations helping to fulfill other needs, including relief for families suffering from the Northern California fires. NBCC exceeded its goal by over 50%, raising $91,000.
Schools receiving funds are Garfield Community School in the Redwood City School District ($15,000) and Santee Elementary School in East San Jose ($15,000), as well as My Special Treasure Education Center, a K-7 school in Guatemala (over $10,000).
Funds are also going to the Old Skool Café ($10,000), a San Francisco-based youth-run supper club that trains, employs and provides support for at-risk youth, and Able Works ($10,000), which equips individuals with financial education, life skills, and assets that enable them to live free from oppression and poverty.
In addition to funding, NBCC also set a goal to provide 1,400 packages of much-needed school supplies to the Garfield and Santee schools. Over 2,045 packages were provided, 46% above NBCC’s goal.
On Sunday, November 11, NBCC canceled its Sunday worship gatherings and asked church volunteers to give at a total of 2,400 hours of service. Again, NBCC responded in a “crazy rich” way, volunteering nearly 3,500 hours. Volunteers painted, built planters, cleaned up classrooms, organized libraries, and provided many other services.
A Santee parent and the Santee principal share what it means to have support from their community:
In Matthew 22, Jesus describes what is sometimes called “The Greatest Commandment”: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” NBCC’s “Be Crazy Rich” effort shows what happens when His followers take Jesus’s commands seriously.