ARKA runs a Polish primary school and a secondary school, as well as adult education classes, a music school, a community centre and other ministries in the city of Wroclaw. A sponsorship scheme enables disadvantaged children to attend the school. In addition, ARKA organizes and runs camps for children in winter and summer that emphasize English teaching, sport and Bible study. Instructors offer an annual trip to Israel during the holidays.
Picture "Angelika," a little girl of seven. She's standing at the bottom of the stairs leading to the exit of her new school. As she huddles closely to one side, other students are streaming past her, their loud voices calling out to friends with the joy and anticipation of freedom that come at the end of a long day. Done with listening to teachers and tempering their abundant energy, they throw open the school's doors to head home. Angelika, though, holds herself back, even when others unintentionally bump into her. She's not anxious to leave the ARKA School and return to her foster home. Here, teachers show her love and attention. Home, life is different.
This is the image teachers carry of Angelika from her early days at the ARKA School. Some remember having to encourage the little girl to go home. Like other students, Angelika found more than just a school. Julia, age twelve, writes that, "For me, our school is a home away from home." Witek, age seven simply says, "My school is the best!"
While providing a broad and thorough education
- Assist pupils to develop a Biblical perspective on the world
- Create an optimal environment for each studentís spiritual, intellectual, social and physical growth
- Individually assist students in discovering and developing their God given talents
- Instruct pupils to respect others
- Help students to make choices based on Biblical Values
The task of the school, according to Zosia Lewandowska, ARKA School director, is to teach students not only academics, but also about Christ. The Bible Hour, for example, challenges students to give their lives to Christ. In and out of the classroom, students see that the Bible and faith are related to life. How do teachers help the children to apply these practical faith lessons? ARKA teachers organize activities like helping the sick and visiting children's homes.
- $15,000 for Summer Camp and School Scholarships. Used to encourage participation of local underprivileged children.
- $130,000 for Construction of School Extension
ARKA runs a primary school and a secondary school, as well as adult education classes, a music school and a community centre in the city of Wroclaw. A sponsorship scheme enables disadvantaged children to attend the school. In addition, ARKA organizes and runs winter and summer camps for children, with emphases on English teaching, sport and Bible study, and holidays such as an annual trip to Israel.
Both the Elementary/Primary Grade School and Junior High/Middle School curriculums are based on the National Educational Programs as set forth by the Minister of the Department of Education in Poland.
- A "Bible Hour," English, German, instruction in Data Processing and Swimming lessons
- English classes incorporate conversation with "Native Speakers"
- A variety of supplemental courses are available: Arts, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Tourist-Geography, German, Computers, Aerobics, and Chess
- Regularly organized outings called "White (Winter) and Green (Spring) Schools" as well as Summer Language Camps with guest teachers from England and the USA
Another significant ministry of ARKA is its summer camps, held every year since 1999. Located in the picturesque Lower Silesia region of Poland, ARKA's weeklong camps include English language and sports activities. The retreats are a cooperative effort between Polish workers and several short-term workers from the US and UK.
Led by native speakers, up to sixty campers grow in their English language skills through games, reading, listening, and speaking. Sometimes, the native speakers introduce aspects of their own cultures to the campers. Workshops offer a creative way for children to apply the English skills they've learned. One of the most popular activities has been acting out dramas presented in current films.
A variety of sports provides a physical outlet for campers. Activities offered over the years have included horseback riding, volleyball, soccer, tennis, aerobics, swimming, and even cricket, baseball, and rugby. In keeping with ARKA's aim to develop people spiritually, a Bible hour helps campers to focus on the Lord daily. Field trips to local attractions, singing, videos, various indoor and outdoor games, campfires, hikes, and cultural evenings all are incorporated into the program to add to the experience.
Although they're some of the largest and longest-running ministries of the ARKA Christian Educational Association of Poland, the schools and summer camps comprise only a part of ARKA's activities. Other arms of the association include:
- a music school
- evening classes for children and adults
- educational trips to Israel
- teacher conferences
- white and green (i.e. winter and summer) schools
- a volunteer development center (providing training for groups such as the SLOT Art Festival volunteers)
- social outreaches (such as Christian scouting meetings; artistic, educational, and cultural activities; and youth events)
- spiritual development (such as Bible studies, prayer meetings, men's groups, and seminars)
ARKA has a clear vision for all these activities. First, they desire to present the gospel to a broad section of society. This goal is met as the various ministries affect the lives of members from many strata of society. They also want to create platforms for ministry for believers. Through jobs such as teaching youth, running camps, and training adults, individuals can live more integrated lives, ministering through their work while earning a living. Additionally, ARKA hopes to present Christianity as both relevant and desirable for everyday life. Through cultural events, community service, and leisure time activities, non-believers have the opportunity to see the attractiveness of the gospel. Finally, through their influence on the younger generation, they want to shape and change awareness of society. ARKA students-young and old-have gone into the world, equipped and convinced of the need to be actively involved in helping others.
On a stage in front of a roomful of people, three young children stood, their black and white attire identifying them as pupils of the ARKA music school. Some in the audience-teachers and school workers-smiled or held back tears. These happy, proud, but nervous youngsters were orphans. They would never have had the opportunity to participate in or introduce the upcoming music presentation had it not been for gracious and generous sponsors.
Who knows how the lives of youngsters like these can be changed as a result of such giving? Who knows how many other lives theirs will touch because of this chance?
At first, Ms. Lewandowska explains, the school was a type of oasis. There, students could be isolated from the outside world and its influences. Through the years, though, the vision and impact of the school has changed. Now the school not only influences its students, but also the community and her churches. By interacting with parents and reaching out to the community, the ARKA School is making a difference.
Because the school is composed of students and teachers from both Protestant and Catholic backgrounds, students-and teachers-tend to view Christianity more broadly. As they work side-by-side with people of other worship traditions, they learn and grow in their faith.
- Expansion of existing facilities by building a gymnasium for sport events and extra classrooms for Junior High and the Education Center
- Expansion of foreign language and sports programs
- Exchange student programs with partner schools in Germany and England
- Commencing a High School and pre-school
- Development on site of the recently initiated Education Center and soccer club