Eli Berry serves as the High School Student Pastor at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee. First Evan purchases custom apparel for church events through Agape North in order to give back school uniform shirts to students at Libertas School of Memphis each year. The students at First Evan have decided they wanted to take their partnership with Libertas a step further, serving more consistently throughout the school year. Part of their deeper partnership involves doing summer clean-up projects in order to prep the building for the upcoming school year.
Check out the short Q&A with Eli below, as well as a video highlighting the work First Evan did this summer. Thanks First Evan and Eli for being difference makers!
Why did First Evan decide to partner with Agape North for their custom apparel?
We wanted to provide our congregation with cool shirts that were more than just “cool shirts”. By working with Agape North, a quality event shirt is also a way to provide school uniform shirts for students in Memphis. Agape North makes it easy for us to give back to our city in a unique way.
Describe your initial impression of Libertas from your first Agape North Shirt Giving Day?
I immediately was intrigued with the way Libertas goes about educating their students. The fact that they are a neighborhood, free public Montessori school blew my mind. Libertas provides a hands-on, individualized education that caters to the needs of each student that comes through their doors. Also, any school that has chickens onsite is awesome in my eyes.
How did First Evan decide to take another step in serving at Libertas? What has that looked like?
Not only have we chose Libertas to be the school we donate uniform shirts to, but we have also made them one of our Mission Memphis partners. The past two summers we have worked alongside of Libertas during our Mission Memphis service week. We have added on to their playground, assembled and arranged furniture, and have also painted a few things inside of the school. It has been an honor to work with them.
How are your students different from having served at Libertas?
I think our students have seen a really cool and unique side of Memphis that they would not have seen otherwise. There are a lot of really great things happening at Libertas and the buzz there is contagious. The way Libertas’ staff cares for their work and their students is inspiring.
How would you describe a healthy urban/suburban partnership?
Libertas has helped us more than we have helped them. It is a two-sided relationship, to be sure. Libertas does not need our help, but we GET to work with them. I think a healthy urban/suburban partnership stems from realizing truths such as that. We are all in it together, and together, we are better.
What’s your favorite moment from all your visits to Libertas?
My favorite moment from all our visits to Libertas was when we went to their end of the school year poetry recital. Seeing all of the proud parents, students, and teachers was such a joy. It was a small picture of the big wave of an impact Libertas is having in their neighborhood.