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by Shelly Cochrane

Last August my family faced a great deal of firsts: first day of junior high, first day of high school, first day at Timothy Christian Schools, as well as the first day of school outside our home state of Alaska. My husband, two daughters, and I had recently moved from Anchorage to Chicagoland, and we all had a level of uneasiness about our new life here.

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Imagine my pleasant surprise when I received a phone call from a willing helper. Julie identified herself as my Timothy Christian Family Ambassador. She had two boys at Timothy, one in the same grade as my 7th grader, and she lived in my new hometown. She wanted to welcome us to the area and to our new school.

My husband and I already felt sure of our choice of school for our girls: Timothy has high academic standards, great teachers, and strong Christian values. But our choice was affirmed because over the next few weeks, Julie introduced us to the loving community life of this unique school.

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Family Ambassadors are those Timothy families who welcome newcomers to the school: to answer questions, to extend a helping hand, or simply to be a familiar face in the sea of newness. My ambassador was all that!

Julie and her family were more than willing to help answer my questions and introduce us to others. Julie not only invited my family to her house for a simple night to get acquainted, she also included us in a back-to-school barbeque giving us an opportunity to meet numerous Timothy families before the first day of school.

If Julie didn’t have answers to my questions, she found it. Imagine my pleasant surprise once again when yet another sweet Timothy mom extended a helping hand. Tyra, a mother of high school girls, offered her time, knowledge, and friendship as our family was walking into the high school years for the first time and doing so in a brand new school. Talking with Tyra helped us become more excited than anxious about being at Timothy.

While not all new Timothy families are new to Chicagoland, and most are not transitioning from Alaska, each new family does come with their own set of questions, concerns, and first day jitters. The Ambassador Program serves as a wonderful tool to smooth the transition into our great school and draw new families into the loving Timothy community.

The friendly faces we met before day one brought greetings and encouragement to my girls as they entered the school on day one. Our ambassadors helped connect us to other families and students who all helped in our adjustment to life in Illinois and to our new school. My husband and I are grateful for Julie, Tyra, and their families who continue to be not only a source of information for us — but also friends.

For more information about the Ambassador Program, or to volunteer, contact Amy Alex @ aalex_ca@yahoo.com.

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