You are the light of the world. Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
– Matthew 5: 14-16
Children at St. Lawrence School in Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhood are faced with numerous obstacles to learning due to the high rate of poverty in their neighborhood. Many children face issues such as difficult family relationships, exposure to violence and crime, and food and housing instability which lead to high absenteeism and low academic performance.
To overcome the social and mental health issues these students face, St. Lawrence School provides support through a counselor/social worker program. Since 2001, the SC Ministry Foundation has supported the counselor/social worker program at St. Lawrence School, as well as three other Price Hill Catholic Elementary Schools: Holy Family, Resurrection, and St. William. The programs vary by school, yet each provides students with individual and group counseling, classroom guidance, and essential interventions that identify and address academic issues to prevent larger problems in the future. Additional support is provided for bilingual students and families through a partnership with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Latino Outreach Program.
The success of the counselor/social worker program has been documented through improved academic proficiency scores, improved attendance, and fewer
behavioral disruptions in classrooms.
Approximately 85% of St. Lawrence School graduates have enrolled in Catholic high schools over the past four years.
Above all, the compassionate care provided by the St. Lawrence counselor and social workers fosters a loving environment that eighth grader, Yendy, described as
“family.” May all who share in the education of children at St. Lawrence and schools everywhere continue to share the light of Christ.
Do not be afraid; for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people. – Luke 2:10
Hidden in an industrialized neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, is a niche of color with flourishing gardens, beehives, and worm farms. This earth-friendly place that defies its bleak surroundings is EarthLinks – an organization that brings hope and joy to an increasing number of chronically homeless people in Denver.
EarthLinks remains firmly planted in this struggling neighborhood, providing those who are homeless and impoverished with an opportunity to earn an income through meaningful work in a safe environment. Participants build relationships and learn new skills by contributing to EarthLinks’ line of sustainable products which include soap, cards, vases, jewelry, birdhouses and bee boxes. EarthLinks’ programs focus on the strengths of each person, while also helping them to step out of isolation and re-enter community. As one participant shared, “I am no longer a loser – I am a beekeeper.”
EarthLinks has shown that participants with a stronger connection to community report a higher self-esteem.
Since 2007, the SC Ministry Foundation has supported EarthLinks, where Sister Jacqueline “Jackie” Leech, S.C., serves on the advisory board. “The special moments at EarthLinks are when I watch the participants and staff laughing together while producing beautiful items to be sold. I hear someone’s story of being homeless and the wonderful things EarthLinks has done for them,” shared Sister Jackie.
SC Ministry Foundation recognizes EarthLinks for their efforts to spread Gospel joy while helping the homeless care for each other and care for our Earth.
At the heart of the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati is the promise to “strive to live Gospel values” – to live as Jesus did, according to the examples recorded for us in the Gospels. The peaceful words, loving actions and wise counsel that Jesus shared with his followers during his time on Earth provide a needed respite from the harsh, critical words and violent actions that are gripping our world today.
How can we be like Jesus for others?
Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical, The Joy of the Gospel: “The evils of our world – and those of the Church – must not be excuses for diminishing our commitment and our fervor. With the eyes of faith, we can see the light which the Holy Spirit always radiates in the midst of darkness, never forgetting that ‘where sin increased, grace has abounded all the more.’ (Rom 5:20)”
We are thankful for the organizations who continue to look with eyes of faith and serve those in need through the example of Jesus. It is through these organizations that children receive the light of knowledge, and the vulnerable and oppressed receive peace and safety and feel the joy of inclusion.
We thank all Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati who continue to live out their mission with passion and vigor, providing motivational role models for all of us to
emulate. May God continue to bless our efforts to strive to live our lives by the example of Jesus.