|Intern Works with One Million Women to Focus on Faltering Education Systems|
Ginena Dulley-Wills began last week as the Sara Shingler public education intern coordinated by the United Methodist Women's Division office in Washington, D.C.
Though her work has one focus, she is not alone in it. United Methodist Women around the country have decided to act in creative ways to address the faltering education systems in their communities. Ms. Dulley-Wills will be collecting their stories so units and churches can network within the denomination around this pressing issue.
In Pennsylvania, United Methodist Women from the four conferences gathered for one year on the steps of their state capital to advocate for public education legislation that brings equitable funding to schools. In Nebraska, the denomination's women are making comfort bags for school children who are suffering deaths in their families. In Washington, D.C., they're hosting summer events where teachers tutor their colleagues in ways to teach more creatively in the classroom. In other areas, they are checking schools for environmental threats, providing refreshments in teacher lounges to show their appreciation, and running after-school tutoring programs and daycare facilities.
It's part of United Methodist Women's Campaign for Children, Phase III, and Ms. Dulley-Wills a long-time member of the organization, is looking forward to the work.
' I'm going to be looking at advocacy with United Methodist Women and how they can become involved in public schools. But I will also be coordinating what local groups are already doing and how they're already involved with local schools,' she says.
She'll also be planning an event next summer that brings more than 100 people involved in education together in Nashville, Tenn. Participants will be selected from the United Methodist Women who participate in the Public Education study offered this year at Conference Schools of Christian Mission. These schools educate around 25,000 lay, clergy, children and youth each year.
Ms. Dulley-Wills will be working with more than the United Methodist community, however. She'll be working ecumenically.
Julie Taylor, executive secretary for children, youth and family advocacy with the Women's Division serves on the committee for public education and literacy of the National Council of Churches (NCC). She helped make the internship a shared internship with the NCC, since ecumenical efforts produce greater advocacy results.
'We want to use our connections to make what we do stronger,' says Ms. Taylor. 'In some communities Presbyterians may be doing tutoring, United Methodists may be doing after-school programs, and United Church of Christ may be doing fundraising for school supplies. An ecumenical network will help churches connect with each other to work for better education for our children.'
'Ecumenical work may also encourage women not involved to get involved in their public education systems,' says Ms. Taylor.
The Campaign for Children, Phase III, is a program of United Methodist Women focusing on better public education for children and getting the local women involved in issues. Ms. Dulley-Wills was chosen to receive the two-year internship established in honor of Sara Shingler, former Women's Division president (1996-2000), of South Carolina Conference.
The Women's Division represents United Methodist Women, a one-million member organization whose purpose is to foster spiritual growth, develop leaders and advocate for justice. Members raise close to $25 million a year for programs and projects related to women, children and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.
Date posted: Jun 07, 2004