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Micah Children's Initiative

Updated: Apr 22

Overview

The Micah Children’s Initiative is our school-church partnership with the Robert J. O’Brien STEM Academy in East Hartford. Through the generosity of our congregation, we provide material support and staff and volunteer time to the children and staff of O'Brien School.

This speaks directly to our beliefs about the inherent dignity, worth and value of every child, and their right to a good education in a region where the local tax base plays an outsized role in the educational support that children receive. Our MCI team has laid the foundation for improving the education and the lives of the O’Brien children by providing COVID-19 safety supplies, opening a clothing closet with school uniforms and winter apparel, reading remotely to students for the United Way’s Read for the Record program, donating children's books and other classroom materials, conducting teacher appreciation events and cleaning the school courtyard. We have committed to the East Hartford Public Schools that our partnership will be collaborative, supportive, multi-faceted, needs-based, participatory, well-funded, sustainable and strategic, and we envision in the coming decades a continuing blossoming of this relationship. 




Contact for more information:

Nancy Tandon


Judy Rozie-Battle 


About the Micah Initiative

We believe in the inherent dignity, worth and value of every child and their right to a good education. It troubles us to live in a region where the local tax base plays an outsized role in the educational support that children receive. Through the generosity of our congregation, we provide volunteers and material support as we partner with the children and staff of O'Brien School.


Over the last several years we have opened a clothing closet with school uniforms and winter apparel, read remotely to students for the United Way’s Read for the Record program, conducted teacher appreciation events and cleaned the school courtyard. We have also donated children's books and other classroom materials, purchased water bottles for each student, provided COVID-19 safety supplies and added a new welcome banner to the school entrance.


We have committed to the East Hartford Public Schools that our partnership will be collaborative, supportive, multi-faceted, needs-based, participatory, well-funded, sustainable and strategic, and we envision in the coming decades a continuing blossoming of this relationship.


Our work so far is only the tip of the iceberg in what we envision for our long-term partnership. We look forward to increased face-to-face interaction and expanding our support to the entire O’Brien community.


Capital Campaign 2022

In his address to the Second Annual Meeting of the Southern New England Conference

(SNEC), our Executive Conference Minister, Rev. Darrell Goodwin, challenged us to be

the Church that wants to be noticed! Our founders chose to locate our Meetinghouse

in the center of Glastonbury and decided to rebuild it after fire and hurricane with

the tall steeple so that townspeople would notice. We decided to renovate the Hale

House property into the Micah House and Chapel – a sacred space for spiritual

renewal, conversation and learning, engagement, discipleship and worship – so our community would notice. We chose to enter into covenant with many other UCC

congregations to be in community with all children of God as an open, welcoming

and affirming congregation. And, we chose to implement the recommended mission

endeavor of a school-church partnership with the East Hartford Public Schools

(EHPS) and their O’Brien School.


What do all these choices have in common? When we choose to be noticed,

what do we start with? The answer is a lot of trust – in our leadership, in ourselves and in God – yet still, a leap of faith. What will we look like at the end, how will we be changed, can we really do this? These are all questions that might be asked at the beginning of any major new initiative. But we confidently asked the EHPS to leap with us in a collaborative, multi-faceted, needs-based, participatory, well-funded, sustainable and

strategic partnership. We chose O’Brien over other options for the opportunity to change the lives of children, to make a difference in our community and world – to be noticed.


During the pandemic, we began to lay the foundation for this transformative partnership.

Our work so far is only the tip of the iceberg in what we envision for our long-term

partnership. We dream of a time of increased face-to-face interaction and of expanding

our support to the entire O’Brien community. In terms of the funds and what function(s)

or position(s) they MIGHT be used for, we don’t know that yet, but it will be guided by the

needs of the O’Brien students and community. Based on other school-church partnerships, it could be a part-time social worker interacting with the O’Brien students and their families. Or it could be an after-school director of programming who organizes various opportunities for O’Brien children. Or it could be a volunteer coordinator who works with the leaders at O’Brien to arrange for 20, 30 or 40 First Church volunteers to be involved in all aspects of the school community as tutors, coaches, art and music teachers, etc. Or it could be _____________ [insert your dream for children here!]


Part of the challenge and beauty of this living partnership is that it is still evolving –

we haven’t discovered exactly how our campaign monies will be used. We have an

endowment fund policy that will guide the prudent and effective use of the funds raised.


This effort to demonstrate Love for Children in our Community will be led by our

amazing MCI committee that has been meeting for close to nearly two years. With

Nancy Tandon, Judy Rozie-Battle, Laurie DiTomasso, Olivia LaFargue, Kristen O’Brien,

Rick Standish, Jim Hartung, Kim and Nagy Mishriky, Susan Parmelee, Dan Martin and

Andrew Wicks, we can’t go wrong. They are leading the way with this partnership and

envisioning, with EHPS and O’Brien School leaders, what is to come.


Even through the difficulties of a pandemic, our MCI team has laid the foundation for

improving the education and the lives of the O’Brien children: providing water bottles

to each child, collecting gently used books for our kindergarten cohort, hanging a new

welcome banner at the school entrance, conducting a teacher appreciation event with

yummy cupcakes, opening a clothing closet with Hartford Foundation grant funds we

were awarded, sprucing up the school courtyard and reading remotely for the United

Way’s Read for the Record program. There is so much more to do, so much more we can

do, and we are only limited by the time and talents of First Church volunteers.

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