Dallas City of Learning Partners: True Lee Missionary Baptist Church
Established: 1910 in Prosper, Texas; moved to Dallas in the 1930s.
About: Hope Restoration, the non-profit arm of True Lee Missionary Baptist Church, began in 1996. Summer of Hope, the Hope Restoration summer camp, started by serving kids ages 3-18, but now concentrates on children ages 5-12. The idea is to be very hands on, to make a difference. So the kids attend reading, science and math classes taught by Dallas ISD teachers. There’s also a reading program in the morning for kindergarteners to 2nd graders, choir classes twice a week, and creative writing sessions with a professional author. True Lee ministers also visit Paul L. Dunbar Elementary High School, Billy Earl Dade Middle School and Lincoln High School to work with students.
Why is Summer Learning so Important?
“Summer learning is extremely important because it highlights the biggest tool we have to fight poverty – education!” says Reverend Donald Parish, Youth Pastor, True Lee Missionary Baptist Church. “Education is the biggest equalizer that we have. We have to make it a priority year round. We are fighting against a depraved mentality that doesn’t value education for a litany of reasons. I believe that a local church is the epicenter of its community. So we decided nine years ago to offer a free camp for all that focuses on fun, fitness, exposure and learning.”
Why Partner with Dallas City of Learning?
“Dallas City of Learning provides fun and innovative learning opportunities for children all over the city.”
How Does Your Participation in Dallas City of Learning Benefit True Lee Baptist Church Kids?
“The benefit of our partnership I think will be felt once school starts back because our kids will be better equipped to attack the learning opportunity that is in front of them,” says Reverend Parish. “We want to have balanced young minds that are eager to learn.”
What is Your Vision and Passion for the Future of Education?
“The future of education in our city is in flux right now,” says Reverend Parish. “We have a number of charter schools, a failing public school system, and parents opting for private schools because they don’t trust their local schools anymore. We have to be an active participant in helping carry the weight of educating our young people. We have to have a standing presence online, in the local schools, and on the weekends to constantly and consistently provide educational opportunities that will propel our young people to greatness. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and depend solely on the educational institutions to completely educate our kids.”
— Mario Tarradell