One+One Dallas Partners with DISD for National African American Family Involvement Day

NAAFID parents at schools

Ministry With grant helped St. Paul UMC and FUMC Dallas expand program to seven additional campuses in its second year 

Moms at schoolDallas ISD observed National African American Family Involvement Day (NAAFID) on February 12, a day aimed at fostering stronger connections between African American families, schools and the community. This annual event is an opportunity for educators, parents and community members to come together and empower families to take an active role in their children’s educational journey.

After being awarded a $7,500 Ministry With grant from the Center for Missional Outreach, the collective efforts of St. Paul UMC and First UMC Dallas enabled Dallas ISD to expand NAAFID from one to seven campuses in its second annual celebration. These United Methodist churches laid significant groundwork in supporting public education with One+One Dallas and deployed 16 volunteers to NAAFID events at four DISD campuses: Dunbar, Thompson and Rhodes Elementary Schools and Dade Middle School.

Rev. Angela Williams, who serves as associate pastor for both First UMC Dallas and St. Paul, recognized the importance of being a part of this endeavor. “This is our community and these are our kids,” Williams emphasized. “We’re called to be light in this world; to be the hands and feet in the world. This is what it looks like to be the body of Christ.”

For First UMC Dallas member and One+One Dallas coordinator Dana Friedel, the day was an inspiring opportunity for “ministry with” as the grant emphasizes. “The parents loved it. They are very knowledgeable about their kids and the schools. The parents care about the school. At One+One Dallas, we emphasize coming alongside. It’s been an honor and a blessing to be a part of this.”

Drummers outside AA MuseumRecognizing the vital role family involvement plays in a student’s success, the district organized a range of activities with the churches’ help. The day’s events included guided school tours, providing parents with insights into the campus environment and facilities. Participants also learned about the rich history of their students’ campus and engaged in classroom observations to gain a deeper understanding of the learning process. 

Candace Sledge, director of partnerships and volunteer services at Dallas ISD, emphasized the significance of parental involvement, stating, “Research consistently shows students perform better academically when parents are involved and engaged in schools and their child’s learning experience.” 

One+One Dallas was gratified to be able to use their grant to support this important work. The leaders are now in conversation with members of the DISD Partnerships and Volunteer Services office about how they might support future efforts in the public schools. 

“We don’t want to go in and say, ‘This is what we have to give you,’ but rather to listen to what people really need so we’re not inundating the schools with things they don’t need,” Williams said. 

Angela WilliamsNAAFID was presented to them as a need the churches could make an immediate impact on, and the day did not disappoint. 

The celebration concluded with a reception held at the African American Museum of Dallas, where guests were treated to performances by students and parents. Guest speaker for the closing event was Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund. He quipped, “I learned a long time ago, if you want to get something done, call Methodist women!”

If you have an idea for a Ministry With micro-grant that would align with the core values of doing ministry alongside your neighbors, learn more about the application process here

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2024