Partnership Highlight: Shayne Elementary and Tusculum Church of Christ

We are excited about a new United4Hope partnership between Shayne Elementary and Tusculum Church of Christ. Though the United4Hope partnership is new, Tusculum’s embrace of Shayne is not new! Several years ago, Tusculum elders Gerald Merritt and Mike Dotson noticed that – given the heavy departure traffic at Shayne in the afternoons – several parents used their church campus as “overflow” for waiting on and picking up their children after school.

Gerald and Mike saw this as an opportunity for hospitality! They built a sidewalk between their church and the school, giving students a passage and providing a beautiful metaphor of the connection between Tusculum and the school. Before long, they built a pavilion on the “church side” of the sidewalk, so that they could provide a “3rd space” for Shayne students and parents, along with Tusculum church members! On Fridays, you can often find Gerald, Mike, and other congregants handing out cookies, hot chocolate, and high fives before and after school. And, of course, no one is safe from Mike’s dad jokes, either.

Tusculum plans to use their United4Hope partnership to deepen their relationship with Shayne, prayerfully launching into a lunch buddies program soon. We are inspired by Tusculum’s welcoming embrace of the students next door. In the words of Mike, “we took stock of what we have, and among other things, we have real estate. We want the families of Shayne and Oliver feeling welcome and finding community in our space.