PAA Adopts a Class

Early in the school year, Greg Phillips, Portland Adventist Academy chaplain, was inspired to invite his co-workers to join him in a classroom adoption project. His invitation was greeted with enthusiasm.

Adopt a Class Foundation is a nonprofit foundation that organizes volunteers to spend time with students in Title-One classrooms. "A Title-One school is one where 50 percent or more of the students live at or below poverty level," says Wayne Abbot, director of the Portland chapter. "This means that some are homeless, many wear the same clothes for weeks at a time, most of the children don't get three meals a day, and the list goes on." These problems affect the student's ability to focus and learn. But the Adopt a Class Foundation and the people who volunteer for it believe these kids are not without hope.

The PAA faculty was coupled with a first-grade classroom at Mill Park Elementary School where 80 percent of the students are living in poverty. At their first visit, it was clear what a difference this could make. "Afterward, the teacher came to me and told me that my little buddy is so shy she hardly ever talks," says PAA ESL director Maria Bibb. "But with me, she was just a normal talkative kid."

"We can get so tied up in the service of our own work that we fail to see the importance of serving outside our job descriptions," says Jonny Moor, PAA task force assistant chaplain. "This project brings me back to the reality of my calling to minister and teach."

For more information about adopt-a-class projects, visit

January 01, 2009 / Oregon Conference