At nine years old, Zayd has just finished the third grade at Christ the King Lutheran School in Chicago. He was in 4th grade reading and language arts courses, served as an acolyte, volunteered as a flagger during church services, and helps his pastor pray in chapel. He loves school and greatly looks up to his teachers and administrators. Zayd is surrounded by a community of believers who love and care for him with whatever they can give.
Earlier this year, he experienced family difficulties no one should face. He was abandoned and picked up walking around Midway airport trying to find his way back to Christ the King. The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services placed him in the custody of his 83 year old great-grandmother.
Christ the King and several LCMS institutions, especially St. John’s, Lombard and Lutheran Church Charities, wanted to ensure his education continued uninterrupted and immediately began planning ways to financially support Zayd with his tuition, school supplies, food, clothing, and medical care while Christ the King worked with his great-grandmother to ensure he has a stable living environment.
One group of 8th grade girls at St. John’s, Lombard especially wanted to help. The two schools have a relationship where they share field trips and Christmas projects, so when the group of girls heard of a boy in need of help at the school they know well, they approached their National Junior Honor Society faculty advisor, Deb Koehler, and dreamt up an idea: “can we do a Jump-a-thon to raise money?” Yes! The whole school from preschool through 8th grader participated in the event led by the NJHS students. One school day, for 30 to 45 minutes each grade level participated in some type of jumping, from hula-hoop rings to hopscotch. The grade levels partnered with one another, the 7th graders with the preschoolers and so on, and together they were able to raise $4,000 in order to help Zayd remain a student at Christ the King.
On June 10, 2018, Zayd was baptized. He asked his teacher and Mrs. Geri Brazeal, the principal at Christ the King, to be his Godparents. He is overjoyed–and so are we.
This summer Zayd is enrolled in summer camp and his teacher picks him up and drops him off in the afternoons. In five months, his great-grandmother will be able to adopt him.
From preschoolers participating in a jump-a-thon to his 83 year old great-grandmother preparing to adopt him, every member of the body of Christ served in the capacity they could and Zayd will be able to remain enrolled at Christ the King next school year: we are better together.
This is Our Northern Illinois District! #OurNID