Shine ABQ Facilitates Church-School Partnership

Church Perspective

By Trevor Clark, Associate Pastor of Youth and Families

Through the Shine Partnership, one Albuquerque church has been able to provide thousands of food items to hundreds of students at Kennedy Middle School.
According to Ynette Colyer, Shine’s regional program director, “The Shine Partnership has consistently focused on developing meaningful long-term relationships through responding to school specific needs that move the school community forward.”
As early as February 2019, Eastern Hills Baptist Church was led to explore the opportunities for church-school partnership that exist through Shine. Pastor Bill Connors believed such a partnership would be a fitting stewardship of funds raised at the church’s Sunday evening gathering, which are taken up specifically for local missions.
At first, Connors hoped to establish a relationship with El Dorado High School, both because of its proximity to Eastern Hills and because the church was already engaged in ministry to middle school students through the church’s private school, Eastern Hills Christian Academy. However, a partnership with El Dorado was unable to be established, and Shine representatives directed the church to consider supporting Manzano High School, together with Monterey Baptist Church, pastored by Aaron Crawford.
With the onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of public school buildings, many students lost access to daily provisions of food. Yet these closed doors proved to be an open door for Eastern Hills to transition its partnership to Kennedy Middle School and begin supporting the physical needs of its students.
From March 23 to the present, Eastern Hills has served as a collection point for area churches and individuals to drop off shelf-stable, single-serving food items for APS students. Using the NextDoor App, the church broadcasted needs to the wider community, and neighbors responded who were previously unconnected to Eastern Hills.
In addition to receiving food items, the church also bags and transports them to Kennedy Middle School, where volunteers are met by Peggy Jugmahansingh, the school’s community coordinator. Peggy and others then distribute 50 full bags to families experiencing the highest level of need.
Getting to know Peggy has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the Shine partnership, according to one Eastern Hills volunteer. Such relationships are at the heart of Shine’s mission. According to the organization’s website, “We believe true transformation happens in relationship. We will never prioritize the project over the people.”
During a time when churches are driven to get creative in order to gather and maintain relationships among church members, they are also compelled to creativity in the areas of missions and outreach. According to Ynette Colyer, “As we move through COVID 19, Shine is actively preparing to equip Eastern Hills and other church partners as they help their school communities recover from this pandemic. If your church is in the Albuquerque area and you are interested in learning more about Shine Partnership, please explore their website at and/or contact Ynette Colyer (”
When asked whether he would recommend other churches partner with Shine, Pastor Bill Connors responded, “Yes… Shine is the point of connect between the church community and APS… they’ve already done the groundwork that would take churches months or maybe even years to do.”

School Perspective 

By Peggy Jugmahansingh, Community School Coordinator, Kennedy Middle School

Ten weeks after Shine reached out to Kennedy Middle School, a partnership with Eastern Hills Baptist Church has been formally established.
It all started with an APS staffer reaching out to Shine after the announcement that all NM schools will be closed indefinitely from March 13, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
KMS soon learned that in the wake of the crisis, its Feed New Mexico Kids partner would not be able to continue its weekly delivery of nutritious snackable food items for 50 students. These are the students most at risk of experiencing hunger on weekends, as they could not be at school to receive Title I breakfast and lunch meals.
That APS employee was Lindsay Wilwol, Community Schools Manager with the Coordinated School Health Department. The person that Ms. Wilwol reached out to at Shine was Ynette Colyer, Regional Program Director. Shine, as many know, is in the “business” of developing church-school partnership, and has officially partnered with APS.
Within a day of the school closure announcement, Ms. Colyer contacted KMS and offered to fill the gap until the school year ends on May 22. And so, on March 19, Ms. Colyer arranged for Eastern Hills Baptist Church (EHBC) to start a weekly delivery of 50 food bags on one of the days that Grab & Go takes place at the school, 11 am to 1 pm.  Leading that effort for several weeks with dedicated volunteers, was EHBC Youth Pastor Trevor Clark. Taking over from him for the last few weeks was Michael Schott.
Students and parents were thankful and appreciative that this food source was continued. After picking up meals at Grab & Go, they coasted into the south parking lot of the school, all smiles, to collect a bag of tasty, nutritious, filling snacks.
Ms. Colyer did even more. She donated a number of Smith’s gift cards totaling $115 which were given to families that were greatly in need of gas money.  During the week of May 4, she said she would like to take KMS to the next level in the Shine Partnership, and requested a meeting with Principal Laura Chiang and other staff members.
On May 14 during a Zoom meeting, Ms. Colyer extended the invitation to KMS to partner with Eastern Hills Baptist Church. At the meeting were Anthony Carrillo, Assistant Principal; Susan Arnett, Dean of Students; Kerry Trammell, School Counselor, and Peggy JSingh, outgoing Community School Coordinator.  
“Working as an educational leader through a pandemic is incredibly daunting and can even bring feelings of hopelessness at times,” said KMS Principal Laura Chiang.  “When amazing partners come in to alleviate community needs during times such as this one, it not only fills the shortage they are assisting with, but brings new life and energy to other efforts the school is undertaking.  We can’t thank Ynette Colyer and Eastern Hills Baptist Church enough for their efforts and energy during these unprecedented times.”
Principal Chiang and her admin team are working on three areas of growth and enhancement that Ms. Colyer will pass on to the EHBC team for collaborating with the school. KMS is optimistic that with a well-defined goal and sustained efforts, this new partnership will, overtime, yield positive results for family engagement and capacity building. This as we know, can in turn, impact student academic performance and behavior.
Thank you Shine and Eastern Hills Baptist Church!