- Blog, Letter from Executive Director, UrbanPromise School

A letter from one of our staff

Dear Friend, 

The new school year got off to a stormy start when days before opening, Hurricane Ida flooded our community. We were ready for many things–ready to have kids back in the classrooms, ready to see and feel the community together again, and ready with a full array of necessary COVID precautions. Testing three times a week, desk shields, and distancing, among them. We were NOT anticipating hurricane response measures, but that was the reality facing our small Christian school. 

“Thursday morning was a beautiful morning; I looked out the window at 6:30 and the street was dry. But within 15 minutes, there were two feet of water and it was rising fast. Things were floating down the street—trash cans, huge logs, vacuum cleaners,” is the scene described by a parent about the day after Hurricane Ida rained buckets of water on Wilmington. 

Six days later, UrbanPromise School opened. From the students we felt excitement and nervousness; from the parents, elation and gratitude. One parent described it as liberation! The confinement of Covid, followed by the displacement of flooding, was made a little more bearable by the presence of friends and partners welcoming students into safe, dry, and clean classroom spaces. A welcome escape from streets that still smelled of mud and water mixed with sewage. 

Some new friends were on the lawn that morning, entering into the UP community for the first time. Mrs. Edwards’ story caught our attention. 

Mrs. Edwards, who moved to Delaware with her daughter just a few months ago, learned about UP School because of the community forged in the flood. Her new home was under water, and she was speaking to her neighbor who happens to be a long-standing UP school parent. 

“I told my neighbor I was dreading the school I was going to send my daughter to. He told me about UrbanPromise. I told him I didn’t have money, and he told me, ‘Just go.’ I thought, ok, I’ll go. I’m going with God.” 

She walked onto the school grounds and knew she was home. She learned it was financially possible for her daughter to go to UP School, and she filled out the paperwork immediately. We prayed with her that morning, and that afternoon we called her to let her know there was a place for her daughter in the 5th grade. Her response? 

“I didn’t yell out loud, but in my mind, I was crying out for joy.” Out of the destruction of floods came a new beginning and the promise of something safe and good despite a recent storm. 

In addition to responding to the many educational needs of our students, UrbanPromise is sewing into spiritual and emotional needs, as well; both through Covid and through storms. Will you partner with us? 

A gift of $25 or $35 supplies desk shields to keep classes Covid-free; $50 to $100 provides gardening tools for little hands for the elementary students and regular gardening tools for the high school kids. $125 or $250 outfits our pre-k and kindergarten rooms with white boards for reading lessons, alphabet rugs, and a new sandbox. $500-$1,000 helps us to replace our UrbanPromise minivan that was lost in the flood. 

Thank you for serving with us, for enabling us to walk alongside of our community in good times and in bad, and for allowing us to be a presence and refuge through Covid and through the storms we never see coming. 

Sincerely, 

Dionne Xavier 

Principal, UrbanPromise School, Wilmington 

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