Coordinator Julie Romas is hoping a new initiative will have an even bigger impact on students.
"Research shows it takes everyone to educate a child," she said. "It really takes a village."
With poverty, drug use, teen birth and employment rates on the rise across the nation Romas wanted to try a new approach. The first adopt-a-church/school has recently been implemented at Meridian Elementary with First Presbyterian Church.
"Academic success improves when a church community bonds with a school community," Romas said.
Meridian Elementary volunteer Joe Thomas taught math for 46 years and is enjoying being back in the classroom with the students, as he teaches an accelerated math class.
"They are good, kind, polite and alert kids," he said. "I always give them one question before they leave, a thinking question as homework. They can get help in answering the question and they always come back with the answer."
The separation of church and state mandates are honored because church members are giving to schools by volunteering to tutor, mentor, raise funds for the school activities, monetary contributions, etc.
After background checks and training sessions, the A-Team, the group representing Meridian, has dove into the project heads first and Romas is impressed,
"The children are forming bonds with the volunteers," she said. "The church members are modeling character-building skills, showing kids how positive life is and adults do care about them."
The program helps involve the core values behind the KFC program by allowing members of the community to be more involved in the schools.
"I'm enjoying it," Thomas said. "If you like to tutor, then it is all right."
Other schools and church adoptions in the works include First United Methodist and the Nazarene churches adopting East Side Elementary, and Harmony United Methodist Church adopting Van Buren Elementary.
"I have been in education for 29 years and this is the most touching program I've been involved in," Romas said. "I believe will have a great impact on students and schools."
For more information on the KFC programs, contact Romas at 448-1362.