Local church services community by beautifying schools in Joplin

110 volunteers from James River Church renovates four schools in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. – Volunteers spent the morning painting playground equipment, and did landscape work to beatify four Joplin campuses. James River Church started Project Partnership to make a difference by assisting schools with renovations. The annual event is in its 22nd year, partnering with Springfield schools for the first 20 years. This is the second year the event has happened in Joplin.

“I was so thrilled when I reached out to Dr Melinda Moss last year to say hey, this is something we’d love to start doing in Joplin,” says James River Church Joplin campus pastor, Justin Jahanshir, “We’ve done it in Springfield — at that time for 20 years. And we would love to come alongside our schools to bless you in this way. And I mean, it was an immediate yes.”

“It’s just like us — when we look good, we feel good. And when kids come in they see a bright exterior they come in ready to learn, as opposed to coming in and maybe seeing something that doesn’t excite them as much,” says Joplin School Board member Jeff Koch.

This event is new to Brandi Stanton and her family.  She says it’s meaningful to devote this time to the community.

“Because as we live our life for the Lord — serving is such a big part of it. Loving your community, loving people that live around you, loving your neighbor. It’s the most important part of it, really. So I feel like we are teaching the kids to do what Jesus would do,” adds Stanton.

The volunteer work is helping to take the burden off of the school district to help beautify some of these schools, especially during the pandemic.

“We’re more focused on all the COVID preparation. Getting ready. So the outside of the buildings don’t get as much attention because we are financially limited,” adds Koch.

Jahanshir says he knows that this time is challenging for everyone. He and his congregation are just trying to provide relief in a time like this.

“And coming in and doing a day’s work — where we’re just bring a facelift to the school, we know is lightening that load a little bit,” Jahanshir adds.

James River Church plans to continue Project Partnership in Joplin for years to come.