In Trenton, New Jersey, home of the Christina Seix Academy, 38 percent of residents live below the poverty line and one-third of children live in single-parent households. The academy is an innovative urban Pre K-8 independent school focused on providing students from underserved communities with a holistic education, critical habits of mind, and an engaging learning environment.
While Princeton Theological Seminary students do not come to the academy to talk specifically about religion, “there is a pastoral approach to the work and engaging with families and students in meaningful ways,” says Rossy Matos Miranda, director of admissions at the Irma Rivera Center.
Seminary students bring an excellent skill set, passion, and compassion, Miranda says. “Our relationship with PTS is great because they support our school and meet our mission while being inspired to give back to their communities and pay it forward.”
Carson Washington, an MDiv student who worked with the academy’s pilot farmshare program, didn't let a language barrier get in the way. Washington helped a mother who recently lost her job understand how the fresh food she was receiving through the farmshare program was helping her family. She spoke a little English and Washington does not speak Spanish, so building a rapport with her was highly fulfilling for Washington. He says the academy has strengthened his ability to hear others.
the short time, it was such a powerful experience,” he says. “There is something very moving about listening to someone who doesn’t speak your language, building respect and gaining her trust.”
Washington says he admires the academy’s willingness to think outside the box in an effort to improve the community. “I’ve learned about resilience, to learn as you go in life and be open to new things.”