On the off chance that anyone reads this blog who is not also my Facebook friend and has not already seen my plug there, I want to take this week to do a little fund-raising. (Very unusual activity for me.)
Ravenswood Baptist Christian School, the educational arm of Ravenswood Baptist Church, was my high school. I went there at the age of 13 1/2 as a grumpy, funny-looking, social outcast. My parents had decided to transfer me to Ravenswood from the Christian school where I had gone for K-8, hoping that a change to a different atmosphere would give me a chance to start over and make friends. I was not only a nerd, I was also sarcastic, unkind, and argumentative. Peers and teachers alike were justifiably annoyed by me, and most other teenagers just couldn't be bothered.
The thing about Ravenswood, though, was that it excelled at dealing with misfits. It was, and I believe still is, the Island of Misfit Toys School. We had plenty of odd birds of all sorts. I was by no means the only one. (Details suppressed to protect the innocent.) The teachers were firm but kind. They referred to all of the students as "Mr." and "Miss." Strangely enough, the students picked up somehow from the teachers the message that bullying was not acceptable. "Anti-bullying programs" were completely unnecessary. The love of Christ was manifested in the love for the students.
It was at Ravenswood that I started on the road to becoming a person whom anyone would want to be friends with, to be close to, to work or to live with. I had been simultaneously spoiled at home and rejected at school before going there; my friends and teachers at Ravenswood began to correct both of those imbalances. There I made dear friends in my own generation whom I've been privileged to reconnect with now that the Internet makes that possible. Until I went off to college three years later, Ravenwood Baptist Church also became my church.
I have been back to Chicago and visited Ravenswood several times in the last few years in connection with deaths in my family. No church could have been kinder or more supportive at those times.
Now the school is struggling financially. My understanding is that they fell behind in the slump that began in '08, as did most everyone. They have yet to catch up with the financial losses of those years. Ravenswood is an inner-city school, and its families are by no means well off. Sometimes even now parents are unable to pay tuition.
Here is a GoFundMe page for Ravenswood Baptist Christian School. If you're looking for somewhere to make a donation, consider donating there. Or you can send a check directly to the school's address at 4437 N. Seeley, Chicago , IL 60625.