Elementary Teachers Get 'Comfort Zone'
MOORE, Oklahoma -- Elementary school teachers deal with a lot these days. Snow days, sick days, and don't forget about statewide testing days. Sometimes a teacher really needs that teachers' lounge.
But what if the lounge only adds to the stress?
Aimee Rook, a counselor at Winding Creek Elementary, had some choice adjectives for her school's lounge.
"Barren, sterile," laughed Rook. "No decor whatsoever."
Partly because of the less-than-pleasant lounge, many teachers chose to eat in their classrooms.
Cynthia Reagan teaches sixth grade at Winding Creek. She's spent countless lunch hours at her desk.
"Most teachers don't leave campus on their lunch hour, because we only have 25 minutes," said Reagan. "And if you sit at your desk, you're more than likely gonna eat and work at the same time."
The lounge might have remained that way for years, had it not been for Fresh Start Community Church, located just a few blocks from Winding Creek. The church is an active participant in Sharefest OKC, a yearly event involving churches city-wide. Jamie Lorie, associate pastor at Fresh Start, said the church looked for ways to give back to their own community.
"We did some copy paper drives for two other elementary schools here in Moore," said Lorie. "We did some painting and picking up trash."
But Winding Creek's teachers' lounge was easily the most remarkable project. In one afternoon, the group transformed the non-descript room into a space that teachers actually want to visit.
"We never had a couch before," said Rook. "It's a welcoming environment."
Of course there's more; a new couch, loveseat, table, bistro, room divider, wall art, coffee mugs and plants.
"You can go over there and actually relax," Reagan said. "It feels like you've stepped away from the school for a minute."
"We wanted to give back to the teachers of Winding Creek for what they do for our children," Lorie said.
For Fresh Start Community Church, it only made sense. After all, the word "Community" is almost their middle name.