Stories From Alderwood Elementary

As you know, Redeemer has become a community partner with Alderwood Elementary. Alderwood is one of Bellingham’s 14 Elementary schools in the district. Alderwood is on the smaller side and is situated in the Birchwood neighborhood, close to the airport. Partnering with Alderwood isn’t just a short-term commitment. We are looking ahead over the years to come. Bit by Bit and day by day the students there start to recognize our faces. They will start responding to our smiles. They will begin to learn that Redeemer is there to stay!

We wanted to share about some different areas we are serving in the school:


 “Recently I had my first “shift” serving at Alderwood. I and a few others have signed up to volunteer in the cafeteria for about an hour and a half while the students eat lunch. During that time we put on a pair of gloves and help kids open milk containers, hand out napkins, and answer any questions they may have. If we arrive early, we even get to play with the kids on the playground before the bell rings! 

We also get to spend time at the Art Table which is where the older students can be once they’ve finished their lunch. We are just there to show an interest in what the kids are doing and in who they are. Truth be told they ignored me the first day I was there. Some would look up when I asked a question others wouldn’t even acknowledge that they heard me. According to the para-educator, Sarah, who runs the lunch room that isn’t surprising. These students have seen a ton of transition over the last year. In the cafeteria, alone, there have been seven previous lunchroom paras. None until Sarah have stayed all citing it “too much.”  

According to Sara she even has a difficult time finding subs, because many people find Alderwood “too hard.” So, you see these kids, and the staff, aren’t used to people sticking around. They think I’m just another face that won’t be returning. But, that is something that we, at Redeemer, are hoping to change for them in the weeks, months, and years ahead.  One milk carton and one art project at a time.” 

Builders Club

“I have served at the Builders Club after school program.  It has been a real blessing so far, and I have noticed the kids enjoying too.  The club is an after school program where the kids come get a snack, then go out to the playground for 15 mins and then we do Builders club where you build the “theme of the day” in Legos.  It has been eye-opening and fun to get to know some of the children in the club and also to ask questions about how life is like for them and to honestly just be a stable person that shows care for them.

The first time we went to Builders Club, and we were getting ready to leave. We felt like we had a great time but weren’t quite sure the impact we had. But as we were leaving some of the kids came over and said “ARE YOU COMING BACK NEXT WEEK!!??” and I said “SOMEONE IN OUR GC WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK” and then one of the girls chimed in “No, are YOU coming back next week…please please please?”  It just helped us understand that even when we think we may just be there being helpers, it makes an impact on these kids.” 

There are serving opportunities available at Alderwood either on an ongoing basis or a one-time Breakfast and Book event. If interested or you have any questions, please email Kelli Potts: