Since its inception in 2011, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Latino Outreach for Catholic Schools Program has supported the efforts to increase enrollment of Latino students in the Catholic schools of Cincinnati. Latinos are the nation’s fastest growing school-age population and minority, with 1 in 5 children in the United States being of Latino origin. However, a study conducted by Notre Dame University in 2009 revealed that only 3% of students in Catholic schools were Latino.
To challenge the perception in the Latino culture that private schools are exclusively for the wealthy, the program engages families to learn about financial assistance which makes Catholic education affordable. The program also addresses language and cultural barriers by establishing volunteer translators within the schools and working with school administrators to adapt more inclusive and welcoming practices.
Through the leadership of program coordinator Mayra Alza Wilson, the Latino population has increased from 4.5% to 18.8% in the ten targeted elementary schools in Cincinnati, including the five Price Hill Catholic schools. Reports have revealed that once enrolled, Latino students usually persist in their studies in the Catholic schools, as evidenced by a 98% retention rate for the 2015-16 school year.
The success of this program led to recognition from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Last spring when the NCEA held its annual convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ President’s Award was presented to Mayra for promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity.
SC Ministry Foundation has supported the Latino Outreach Program for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati since its inception in 2011. While the program initially focused on welcoming Latino students into Catholic elementary schools, in 2016 the program expanded to provide support to ten targeted Catholic high schools in Cincinnati, including Sister of Charity sponsored Seton High School and DePaul Cristo Rey High School. This year the high school with the highest enrollment of Latino students out of the ten targeted schools is DePaul Cristo Rey, where 13% of the student population are Latino.
This national recognition exemplifies how the Sister of Charity commitment to Catholic education continues to thrive through the programs supported by the SC Ministry Foundation.
A new report, Our Pathway to a Brighter Future: Ohio’s New Americans, has revealed evidence that immigrants play a crucial role in Ohio’s economy and that further investments in services for immigrants would expand positive outcomes. The report is the result of the collaboration from SC Ministry Foundation and several Ohio funders, which sought to understand Ohio’s underserved immigrant populations and their contributions to our communities.
“Immigrants and their children represent the majority of projected labor-force growth in the United States over the next four decades,” said Richey Piiparinen, director of The Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University and the report’s author. “By making investments in supportive services here in Ohio, particularly for our newest immigrants, we can expedite their ability to positively contribute to Ohio’s economy.”
While many of Ohio’s immigrants have achieved conventional markers of success, including rates of educational attainment 15.4 percentage points higher than native-born Ohioans (42.1 percent of Ohio’s immigrants hold a four-year degree or higher compared to 26.7 percent of native-born Ohioans), immigrants have higher poverty rates than the native-born population (18.7 percent to 14.4 percent). This reality is a function of the time it takes to acclimate to a new country and its customs, and can be lessened with improved access to three types of services:
adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services and Spanish GED services throughout the state;
legal services that are affordable and available regardless of legal status;
a full-range of healthcare services that are available regardless of legal status and that address physical, mental, and oral health.
Supporting immigrants creates benefits for native-born Ohioans. Immigrants are more likely to fill physically demanding and emotionally draining jobs in high-demand fields such as home health care, catapulting native-born Ohioans into more skilled labor. As Ohio’s population ages, immigrants will play an important role in filling jobs for the estimated 1.1 million personal and home health care providers needed in the United States by 2026.
Additional findings in the report include:
Ohio’s immigrants have higher rates of family formation than native-born Ohio households, with 62.2 percent of immigrant households comprised of married couples with children compared to 56.4 percent of native-born.
While Ohio’s population growth is almost stagnant, growing at only 0.15 percent since 1998, immigrants help to stabilize Ohio’s population and are a source of growth.
Still, only 4.4 percent of Ohio’s population is composed of immigrants compared to 13.6 percent of the U.S. population. This is the largest divide between Ohio and the nation in modern history, and ranks Ohio in the bottom five nationally.
“Ohio’s immigrants drive cultural, economic, and social dynamism,” Piiparinen said. “By improving language, legal, and healthcare services, we can help immigrants contribute to Ohio’s economy and our communities more quickly. We must begin to imagine immigrant support services as a launchpad, not a safety net.”
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.
Delhi Township, Ohio –The SC Ministry Foundation has announced the retirement of Sister Sally Duffy, SC as president and executive director of the SC Ministry Foundation. With this announcement, Sister Sally shared, “I remain deeply grateful for the call to servant leadership at the SC Ministry Foundation. Thank you to all the organizations who have partnered with the Foundation in sharing the Sisters of Charity mission to act justly and to share their resources with those in need.”
The SC Ministry Foundation is a public grant-making organization that promotes the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Sister Joan Elizabeth Cook, SC, president of the Sisters of Charity congregation stated: “We thank Sister Sally for her sixteen years of leadership and the positive impact she has had on the many groups, near and far, that have benefitted from the Foundation.”
The SC Ministry Foundation is dedicated to many social justice issues such as the revitalization of the Price Hill neighborhoods in Cincinnati, comprehensive immigration reform, and access to affordable, quality health care. Sister Sally has earned numerous recognitions including: the St. Katherine Drexel Award from Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) for exemplary and outstanding contributions to philanthropy on behalf of the Church and the common good; recognition by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for service to women religious in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; recipient of the Gabriel Award as co-executive producer of the documentary, “We Shall Not Be Moved: Catholic Sisters of New Orleans;” the Catholic philanthropy Charles Carroll Award for her love for the poor and her passion for social justice; the Doctor of Humane Letters from Mount St. Joseph University; and the Career Woman of Achievement by the Greater Cincinnati YWCA.
“Sister Sally has been an invaluable asset to the success of the Foundation and has served as an important counselor to many Foundation grantees, community partners and to the board,” shared Denise Kuprionis, chair of the SC Ministry Foundation Board of Directors. “We are grateful for her dedicated years of service to the SC Ministry Foundation and wish many blessings for her future.”
During this time of transition, the vice-chair of the Foundation’s board will assume the management of operations, and Foundation staff members will continue in their current roles.
About the SC Ministry Foundation: Since 1996, SC Ministry Foundation has been promoting the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati as a public grant-making organization that supports direct service, advocacy and systemic change. Through their commitment to living Gospel values, the Foundation strives to reduce poverty and injustice, maximize human potential and build healthy communities through regional, national and international partnerships and collaborative initiatives.
For more information, contact: Amelia Riedel, Director of Communications and Program Officer at (513) 347-1086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his encyclical, Laudato Si’, On the Care of Our Common Home, Pope Francis expresses, “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, at the same time protecting nature.”
A key component of the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati is to “care for all creation,” a message which was reaffirmed with their 2015 Chapter Direction: “Called from the beginning of our foundation as Sisters of Charity to address the needs of our world, we move intentionally and creatively toward the vulnerabilities of our Earth and our sisters and brothers.”
This Spring, in recognition of Earth Day, SC Ministry Foundation invited three Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters CJ Willie, Marge Kloos, and Barbara Busch to share how they are fulfilling the call to environmental stewardship. Staff from 20 nonprofit organizations joined in the conversation to learn how to adopt “green” practices, reduce energy costs, and inspire their community to do the same.
The Legacy of the Solar Nun
Sister CJ spoke from her varied experiences as the program director for EarthConnection, a member of environmental committees for both the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Mount St. Joseph University, and a board member for Ohio Interfaith Power and Light (OhIPL). Sister Paula Gonzalez, SC co-founded Ohio Interfaith Power & Light in 2007 as the statewide affiliate of the national organization. Before her passing in July 2016, Sister Paula had spent 45 years of her life advocating for renewable energy, earning her the recognition as the “solar nun.” Sister CJ shared how OhIPL is continuing Sister Paula’s mission by partnering with energy assessment experts to help faith-based nonprofits obtain low-cost energy audits and implementation plans to reduce energy costs. She included information about financing options that are available to support energy conservation projects, such as the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding mechanism.
Moving “Off the Grid”
As the co-founder and executive director of Working in Neighborhoods (WIN), Sister Barbara discussed how WIN is providing energy-efficient home renovations, and developing plans to utilize solar and geothermal energy in newly-constructed affordable homes. For many years, Working in Neighborhoods has been providing energy-efficient renovations for low-income homeowners, which includes Energy Star rated furnaces, water heaters and appliances, insulation and replacement windows, as well environmental remediation to manage issues with lead or asbestos. In addition, WIN builds new homes with the same principals of energy efficiency and sustainability. WIN’s latest project will create a “Net-Zero” Urban Village in South Cumminsville, one of Cincinnati’s oldest, predominantly African-American neighborhoods. Within a targeted area, WIN will build 25 net-zero or near net-zero energy usage homes using energy efficient design and green energy technology such as geothermal and/or solar. WIN’s goal is to move low-income residents out of costly, inefficient and often unhealthy rental properties into affordable, sustainable homeownership. Within the same targeted area, 25 current homeowners will receive weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades. Sister Barb shared, “We think we can help those in poverty… we’re not going to increase their money, but we can increase their ability to use their money differently.”
Living the Mission
Sister Marge’s background in environmental studies and global travel experiences have prepared her for the responsibility of coordinating environmental initiatives on the Sisters of Charity properties, through her role as an executive councilor with the Sisters of Charity Leadership Council. She shared how Pope Francis’ call to “integral ecology” led the Sisters to consider “what we were doing with our own properties to protect our ‘non-human neighbors’.” Sister Marge shared that when we utilize any energy, we “have to look at the ecological cost as well as the economic cost. As long as I can remember, Sister Paula has been encouraging us to do this.” She described how the Sisters of Charity are on the leading edge of the renewable energy efforts in the Greater Cincinnati area through geothermal, solar, and other energy-efficient initiatives in order to transform their properties into “ecological models of sustainability.” One example Sister Marge cited was their effort to switch 10,500 lightbulbs in the Motherhouse to LED lighting. This has resulted in an estimated cost savings of $62,000 a year. Beyond the Motherhouse, the Sisters have installed geothermal HVAC technology for two of the Sister’s residences and solar technology for six of the residences. The combined impact of these renewable energy solutions is anticipated to reduce carbon emissions at the equivalent of 120,000 miles driven by a passenger vehicle in one year, or 54,000 pounds of coal burned each year.
Contributors: Brittany Hein, communications assistant with SC Ministry Foundation and English major at Mount St. Joseph University; Amelia Riedel, director of communications and program officer with SC Ministry Foundation.