Committed to Welcoming Malorie
“From the moment we met Malorie last spring, we felt strongly that she needed to be at our school and we would figure out a way to make it happen–regardless of her needs,” said Megan Willink, NorthPointe Christian Middle School principal. Malorie, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy, was not expected to live past two. This fall, she entered eighth grade as a new student at NorthPointe Christian Schools (Grand Rapids, Michigan).
“From the beginning, we had several conversations with the staff at All Belong to tap into their knowledge and expertise,” said Willink. “Though there were certainly challenges to enrolling Malorie, it gave us confidence that All Belong had walked through similar situations and was willing to help us in every way, including discussing funding options for Malorie’s full-time aide.”
After being a part of the All Belong community, NorthPointe stepped forward in faith that donors would stand behind the vision for welcoming Malorie.
“We didn’t know how it would be funded, but we trusted that God would provide because she belonged here,” said Willink,
“Word had barely gotten out about a drop in funding, and we had a donor offer to pay for the aide for Malorie’s first year. It was amazing to see how families within our community wanted Malorie at NorthPointe too.”
Malorie loves going to NorthPointe,” said her mom, Michelle. “Everyone is so full of love and helps her however they can. She has so many friends.” Malorie shared,
“I love going to Bible class and chapel. This year, one of my teachers helped me learn that I need to trust God in difficult situations.”
“Malorie has become more responsible. She wants to do what other kids are doing, so she puts effort into her homework. Her teachers have been incredible. However kids learn, the teachers meet them there. Teachers are flexible. Whatever Malorie needs, the staff finds a way to make it happen.”
Malorie’s first few months of school have been a blessing to not only Malorie and her family, but the broader school community as well.
“Malorie has already made a huge impact on our school. She has helped students think outside of themselves. They have realized that she is just like them, even though she has different needs,” said Willink.
One of her friends shared, “She has taught me how to be a servant — I like helping her a lot. Plus, she helps me not take life as seriously.” “Malorie teaches others how to have fun. She is always sweet,” said another friend.
“The student body has really embraced her,” said Willink. “I have already had students approach me and insist that she attend the class trip to Washington D.C. They want to make sure we have a plan for her to come.”
NorthPointe is committed to enrolling Malorie throughout her high school years, something the middle and high school students have fully supported. Because the school will need to raise funds for her aide, students have already begun to make plans to raise money through the National Honor Society. “Students have really championed this effort,” said Willink. “On our recently launched GoFundMe online campaign, about fifty percent of the donors are students. I think this speaks to their heart toward Malorie and the body of Christ.”
Katie Barkley is the marketing communications manager at All Belong.