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.
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.
Over the past twenty years, SC Ministry Foundation has supported nearly 1,000 nonprofit organizations locally, nationally and internationally. Our collective investment of more than $159 million in grants for these nonprofits supports the services that align with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in promoting social justice, addressing the root causes of poverty, and advocating for better lives for all people through improvements in education, income, and health, while minimizing inequity and racism.
A few highlights of our partnerships through the past five years are featured below. We are grateful to all the organizations that have partnered with the foundation in our mission, all past and present members of our board and staff, and all Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Above all, we thank God for the resources with which we have been blessed, and we ask for God’s continuing grace and guidance as we work to bring about the reign of God.
100% College Acceptance Earned by DePaul Cristo Rey High School Graduates
The inaugural classes of DePaul Cristo Rey graduated in 2015 and 2016, collectively earning $6.7 million in scholarships.
New Orleans Catholic Sisters’ Film Shared Worldwide
The documentary, “We Shall Not Be Moved: The Catholic Sisters of New Orleans,” produced by SC Ministry Foundation, shared the story of the Sisters’ resilience post-Hurricane Katrina with U.S. audiences through ABC, Catholic TV, WLAE, NET, and EWTN, which also broadcast internationally. The film earned the 2013 Gabriel Award for best religious TV program and the 2014 Gold Aurora Award for a cultural documentary.
Hundreds of Volunteers Deliver Quality Care and Hope for Uninsured Adults
In the five years since the Good Samaritan Free Health Center opened in Price Hill, 23,000+ patient visits have occurred through 33,000+ volunteer hours from physicians, dentists, nurses and therapists – placing the center as the largest urban free health clinic in Ohio.
Small Grant Makes a Big Difference
Since its inception in 2014, the Sister Elise Grant has helped Sisters of Charity assist their associated nonprofits with various needs including bus tokens, books, iPads and piano recitals. A total of 77 grants, each ranging from $500 to $3,000, have been awarded to 66 nonprofit organizations.
It Takes a Community to Grow One
Cincinnati, Ohio has been nationally recognized for leading Collective Impact initiatives – through which organizations and funders collaborate on change with a common agenda and shared measurements. One example is the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Place Matters program which focuses on the revitalization of five Cincinnati neighborhoods, including Price Hill. For every $1 that SC Ministry Foundation invested in Place Matters, $150 were leveraged for Price Hill.
Year of Mercy Pilgrimage: Crossing the Threshold of the Holy Door
SC Ministry Foundation board and staff members traveled to Baltimore and Emmitsburg, Maryland last spring to experience the spirit of St. Elizabeth Seton through the sites of her early ministries. The group toured St. Elizabeth’s first school in Baltimore, and her homes in Emmitsburg at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, which served as an official pilgrimage site during the Jubilee of Mercy.
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring,” shared Kyle Damen, a senior biology major from Mount St. Joseph University, as he quoted from Martin Luther King, Jr. to his peers who participated in the Mount’s Summer Employment Program. This unique program gives students the opportunity to gain awareness of social justice issues and make an impact in the local community by working with nonprofit agencies. Through the support of the SC Ministry Foundation, the program incorporates the Mount’s mission of integrating life and learning as well as community engagement, all the while helping to alleviate students’ expenses. This summer, 80 students from Mount St. Joseph University assisted 32 nonprofit agencies throughout Greater Cincinnati.
While many students identifed placements that align with their field of study, others chose to broaden their life experience. Kyle plans to attend medical school upon graduation, and while his experience as a development assistant with Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) may not have a direct correlation with his field of study, the experience has made a lasting impression. “It opened my eyes a lot,” Kyle shared. “I learned a lot about where people come from and gained a greater understanding of poverty. It really opened up a pathway to empathy.”
For several students, this was their first time working for a nonprofit. Alex Combs, a senior majoring in financial economics, worked as a business office intern at DePaul Cristo Rey High School. Alex revealed, “Before working there I always thought about working for a bank or some company. Due to this experience, I now think I would also enjoy working for a nonprofit.” Alex further elaborated, “Working for a nonprofit lets you know that you are really part of something that is making a difference in the world.”
Kenneth Mitchell, a sophomore majoring in history, shared that sentiment Alex expressed. Kenneth worked at Cincinnati Works as an employee relations assistant. He revealed, “I came to this hoping to be able to say I made a difference. Little did I know that the people I would cross paths with would make such a difference for me.” Kenneth added, “The people here build lasting, loving relationships with each other. It is a beautiful thing.”
A number of Mount students spent their summer assisting grade school students at summer learning camps coordinated through the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. These camps, also supported by the SC Ministry Foundation, provide learning enrichment and/or credit recovery for students who attend schools supported by the Catholic Inner City Schools Education Fund (CISE).
Mount sophomore Dominesha Washington-Colvin spent her second summer as a classroom aide with the CISE Summer Learning Camp hosted at DePaul Cristo Rey High School. As a former student of St. Francis de Sales School and a 2015 graduate of DePaul Cristo Rey, Dominesha enjoys the opportunity to help other students and reconnect with the community. “My experience at the camp helped me to decide to major in Early Childhood Education,” Dominesha shared.
Senior Michelle Bushle, a special education major, worked toward her career goal as an intervention specialist through her role this summer as a classroom aide in the Price Hill Summer Learning Camp, hosted at Seton High School. Michelle specifically worked with third grade students who needed extra assistance with reading skills. “This job gave me more experience in working one on one with students,”shared Michelle. “I have also built relationships with the students and the faculty.” Amanda Schrand, [pictured top, left], a senior majoring in early childhood education, was also a classroom aide with the camp. She shared, “I have learned tips for teaching in my first years, ideas for lesson plans, how to differentiate instruction, and the importance of manipulates.”
Leandra McCrary, a junior, also worked as a classroom aide at the Price Hill Summer Learning Camp, which was a valuable experience pertaining to her major in early childhood education. Leandra said, “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was young and this summer experience has only reassured my decision.” Leandra further admits, “The program was designed to provide quality instruction to students in need of remediation…I only wish I could aid the students more, that I could give students more one on one instruction throughout the entire summer.”
Toria Black, a sophomore majoring in early childhood education, worked at DePaul Cristo Rey as a technology office intern. Through her experience, Toria said, “I have learned a lot more about computers than I could imagine.” In addition to learning how to repair computers, she also gained valuable organizational and communication skills. “I am now a better employee because I have worked on so many different skills and I have improved some skills that I already had.” Toria also shares the insight, “I have realized that the more you are able to learn, the more you can help others in the community.”
Adam Dick, a senior majoring in social work, worked at Community Matters as a thrift store assistant. He shared, “This summer job has impacted me by showing me what poverty in real life looks like when you are being faced with not getting the resources that you need for you and your family. It also made me think about how I shouldn’t take life for granted and that you need to earn it and live life to the fullest.”
Beyond Work Experience
The work experience is only a small segment of the many benefits the students receive from this program. The students strengthen values and realize the joys of service while contributing to the betterment of the Cincinnati community. They obtain knowledge of the world beyond their home and campus, an invaluable quality for future professionals. Kyle emphasizes, “While poverty is commonly known to all, it is often overlooked when it doesn’t directly affect you as an individual. This habitual tendency of looking the other way is the fuel that drives things like poverty in our country, and one of the greatest impacts that working through the summer program has had on me is just how important community involvement is.”
By assisting non-profit organizations through the summer employment program, the students become part of the change they wish to see and feel empowered because they know they are making a genuine impact—and that is something that cannot be taught.
“You can’t teach someone a great heart,” shared Carlos Crump, in praise of Seton High School students. “There are no classes for that. It has to be genuine.” Carlos had the opportunity to mentor Seton High School students as they assisted his team in the patient transport department at Good Samaritan Hospital as a part of the Seton/TriHealth Summer Employment Program. For 15 years, the SC Ministry Foundation has supported the program to give Seton students real-world experience in health care. Over a span of eight weeks this summer, 59 Seton students provided assistance to 17 locations across the Greater Cincinnati TriHealth network, in positions ranging from transporting patients, to serving as a clerk in the pharmacy, or staffing the registration desk.
Seton seniors Paola Rios and Zoey Bass, (pictured above), welcomed daily visitors to Good Samaritan Hospital during their service at the hospital registration center. Their mentor, Ashley Walriven shared that “Zoey and Paola encountered hundreds of people through this role. Their smiles set the tone for each person’s experience at Good Samaritan.”
This year was Seton junior Kim Tope’s first experience with the program, through which she worked in the senior behavioral health department at Good Samaritan. While she said she was uncertain in the beginning, it ultimately turned into a great experience; “I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was really neat being with the patients and spending time with them and just making their day better.” Kim also added, “It was a challenge, but out of the challenge there was a bigger reward.”
Gaining real-world experience is a key factor in the success of this program. For Sydney Hoffmann and Abby Nutter, both 2016 Seton graduates, working in the labor and delivery department at Good Samaritan and observing births was a defining influence. Sydney revealed, “It has really helped me and opened my eyes on what I want to do for my career.” Both Abby and Sydney emphasized, “We are really grateful for this program.”
Isabella Timon, also a 2016 graduate, was able to expand her experience beyond her assigned post in the the post-anesthesia care unit to observe surgical procedures, including a gall bladder surgery and a hysterectomy. Because Isabella will be studying nursing in college this fall, she said, “It was really helpful for me to get the experience with the patients.” This was Isabella’s second summer with the program at TriHealth. During her senior year at Seton, Isabella chose the Seton/TriHealth Summer Employment Program as the focus of her senior project to help promote the value of the program to her peers. Isabella’s efforts contributed to a waiting list for student entry to the program for the first time since the program’s initiation fifteen years ago.
Katie Tope, a 2016 graduate, explained how useful the experience was for her. “My major is going to be pre-med psychology,” she shared. “I got to learn a lot and see a lot before I go to college and see what my major is really going to be like.”
Jessica Lee, a Seton senior, worked at the TriHealth Fitness Pavilion in the Kids’ Life Center. Jessica happily reminisced that “I personally think I had the funnest job out of everyone because I got to play with kids all day and that’s what I love to do. It might not have been the most medical-based job, but I was still able to see different parts of the medical field.” Jessica learned that, “You don’t have to be in a hospital to be medically integrated.” Through her participation in the program, she also had the opportunity to observe a physical therapy session, which is a field she is considering for her college studies.
TriHealth staff who serve as mentors provide invaluable support for the program, and in return, mentors recognize how the students have benefited their departments. LaShaunda Jones from the TriHealth Fitness Pavilion speaks for both herself and her department saying, “We look forward every year to having the Seton students. They are hard workers, they are really respectable, and they are such a great help to us.”
This summer, 55 TriHealth employees participated as mentors in the program, a significant increase from 31 in 2015. New mentor Brian Cameron from the Bethesda North surgery department positively asserted, “Our student, Kelsey Lively, was more efficient than I could have imagined. She would notice and attend to the details that really impact patient care. We see things the same way every day. It takes someone like Kelsey to see it differently.”
The Seton/TriHealth Summer Employment Program not only provides support for departments, but also invaluable experience to Seton students and extra smiles for the patients they encounter. As one of the largest employers in Cincinnati, TriHealth often continues their connection with Seton students, and has hired many Seton graduates who have participated in the program.
This unique opportunity for Seton students is driven by a dynamic collaboration among four Cincinnati organizations: TriHealth, Inc., Seton High School, the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation and the SC Ministry Foundation. The common thread that intertwines these organizations is a shared mission based on the values of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, who founded Good Samaritan Hospital and Seton High School more than 160 years ago. The tradition of excellence in health care and education established by the Sisters of Charity continues today through all those connected with the Seton/TriHealth Summer Employment Program.