Jim Harrington is leading an effort to engage and organize Austin’s eastside Hispanic community around preventing the closure of the neighborhood elementary school, Escuela Norman. A coalition of parents and neighborhood, political and church representatives has been active and present at school board meetings. Extensive activities including reading buddies, a summer program, and back-to-school events for teachers and students have been held. Currently the school board plans to renovate Norman and keep it open.
His work to establish a missional community has also been successful. Ten people participated in the Diocese of Texas’ Lay Leaders Conference, which focused on developing leadership in missional community and lay leadership. A second retreat will be help to focus on developing their own missional community. Six community members were confirmed, one was received and three celebrated First Communion.
The community experienced increased pressure from immigration enforcement over the summer, and the community atmosphere suffered. Most residents, including children, remained indoors throughout the summer months. Harrington hopes to extend the missional community activities to include home meetings as the members are able to participate.