Pathway to Empathy

Pathway to Empathy

“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.

Kyle Damen gained a better understanding of the Greater Cincinnati community through his summer experience with Working in Neighborhoods.

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.”

Alex Combs’ experience at DePaul Cristo Rey High School provoked him to consider a nonprofit career.

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’s experience with Cincinnati Works this summer has furthered his passion for helping others. 

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.”

Always Learning

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).

Dominesha Washington-Colvin’s experience as a classroom aide with the CISE Summer Learning Camp confirmed her desire to become a teacher. 

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.


Mount senior Michelle Bushle helped elementary school students improve their reading skills over the summer.  

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 enjoyed assisting students and building relationships with the teachers who served as her mentors.

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.”

Community Engagement

Toria Black gained valuable computer skills while serving as a technology assistant at DePaul Cristo Rey High School. 

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 gained greater insight for his social work major while staffing the thrift shop at Community Matters.

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.


Grants Awarded to 39 Nonprofits

SC Ministry Foundation conducts semi-annual responsive grant cycles for funding requests from qualified nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations which align with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati mission.

In June, 2016, the SC Ministry Foundation Board of Directors approved twenty responsive grants for:

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Catholic Schools Office, Cincinnati, OH – to support the outreach and integration of Latino students in Catholic schools;

Resurrection School, Holy Family School, St. William School and St. Lawrence School, Cincinnati, OH – to support student success through a counselor/social worker program in each of these Price Hill Catholic elementary schools;

Healthy Moms and Babes, Cincinnati, OH – to support healthy outcomes for high-risk pregnant women through community outreach;

Elder High School, Cincinnati, OH – to support community engagement, professional development and support services through the tech-reach program;

Purcell Marian High School, Cincinnati, OH – to support student success through blended learning;

St. Rita School for the Deaf, Cincinnati, OH – to support student readiness for kindergarten through the Language Opportunities for Tots program;

Santa Maria Community Services, Cincinnati, OH – to support student readiness for kindergarten through the Promoting Our Preschoolers program;

The Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH –  to support student success with the Third Grade Reading assessment through specialized instruction with grade K-3 students at Resurrection School;

Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH – to support legal assistance to homeowners and renters in Price Hill and advocacy for better housing policies;

Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, Cincinnati, OH – to support improved health and well-being for uninsured adults through behavioral health services at the Good Samaritan Free Health Center;

Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA– to support successful students by providing health and counseling services in two New Orleans Catholic schools;

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH – to support the development of children in Price Hill through education, health and community engagement;

Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Cincinnati, OH – to support enhanced capacity of services as well as spiritual growth and leadership development through the Vincentian Volunteers program;

ProKids, Cincinnati, OH – to support the protection and supervision of foster children age birth to five through the training of court appointed special advocates;

The Health Collaborative, Cincinnati, OH – to support a comprehensive, community-wide collective impact initiative to address goals for improved health, greater access to health care with lower costs;

Cooperative for Education, Cincinnati, OH – to support sustainable education programs in Guatemala that lead people out of poverty through outreach and engagement with North American donors;

Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO – to support improved and expanded legal immigration services for low-income immigrant families.

Also approved were nineteen director’s responsive grants awarded to organizations in Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Washington, DC that will advance our mission regionally and nationally.

The semi-annual responsive grants represent one type of grant program provided by SC Ministry Foundation. In addition, the Foundation provides grants for sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity, capacity building grants, and discretionary grants. In 2014, the Sister Elise Grant was introduced as a small grant fund for programs where a small amount of money can make a big difference.

For more information, see:

Funding priorities

Responsive grant process

Sister Elise Grant

Catholic Sisters Stand in Solidarity with Immigrants

Catholic Sisters Stand in Solidarity with Immigrants

Regardless of your religion or the location of your neighborhood, chances are very likely that your life has been influenced in some way through the ministries of Catholic Sisters. Why? Because Catholic Sisters throughout history have been dedicated in their service to all persons – regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity or economic status. Many of our nation’s hospitals, schools and social service agencies would not exist today if it were not for the courage of faith-filled women who founded them over 100 years ago.

A Legacy of Caring for the Oppressed

Sister Blandina Segale, SC surrounded by her students in Albuquerque, NM in 1881.

The rich history and heritage of the Sister of Charity of Cincinnati contains many inspiring stories of innovative, courageous and deeply compassionate Sisters. One of those Sisters is now in the process of becoming a Saint. Sister Blandina Segale left Cincinnati in 1872 to brave the Santa Fe Trail. As a young woman in her twenties, her experiences grew from teaching children in small adobe schoolhouses across Colorado and New Mexico, to caring for the sick and the dying that others had rejected, to defending the rights of the regions’ Native Americans and Mexicans. When Sister Blandina returned to Cincinnati, she and her sister Justina Segale, also a Sister of Charity, co-founded Santa Maria Institute in 1897 to care for the poor and needy Italian immigrants in the inner-city.


A Nation of Immigrants – Past and Present

Sister Margarita Brewer, SC surrounded by students who received the 2016 English Language Learning Foundation scholarships.

Today, the work of Sister Blandina and Sister Justina continues through the assistance that Santa Maria Community Services provides to immigrant families in Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhoods. Many of our Sisters continue to devote their ministry to immigrant families, including Sister Margarita Brewer, who has assisted numerous immigrants and English language learners in Cincinnati and beyond. As a native of Panama, Sister Margarita personally understands the challenges of immigrant families. Through her work with the English Language Learning Foundation, more than $55,000 in scholarships have been awarded to ensure that students from immigrant families have opportunities to achieve their dreams through higher education. SC Ministry Foundation was pleased to be one of the sponsors of the 2016 event that recognized these deserving students.

These young adults will have the opportunity to contribute to our neighborhoods and our region much like the experience of our ancestors from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Africa, and many other areas around the world.

As young professionals, they will have the opportunity to become our future entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as community volunteers, parish members and welcoming neighbors.

However, more support is needed to ensure that immigrant families are welcomed into our communities, our places of work and our places of worship.

A Nation Strengthened by Diversity

ImmigrationInfographicContrary to the “sound bites” that dominate mass media, immigrants have strengthened our economy and our communities. According to reports from The Partnership for a New American Economy:

  • Immigrants have added approximately $3.7 trillion to housing wealth nationally. With the rising trend of baby boomers who are downsizing, immigration reform could alleviate the shortage of home buyers. [source:]
  • By the year 2050, the number of Americans over age 65 is projected to double the 43 million seniors in 2012. This fact, coupled with the increased educational attainment of young Americans and decreasing birth rates will leave a significant gap in the nation’s workforce. Immigration reform could bridge this gap since most immigrants are of prime working age. [source:]

The report, “New Americans in Cincinnati,” produced by The Partnership for a New American Economy with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, provides local data:

  • In 2012, immigrants in metro Cincinnati accounted for 3.5% of the population, yet held more than $1.5 billion in spending power;
  • Tax contributions from immigrants in 2012 totaled over $189 million in state and local tax dollars;
  • Immigrants represent 6.8% of the high-tech workforce, and 11.3% of all information technology workers.

Immigrants are also devoted to faith, family and community. In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, a growing number of Latino students are contributing to classrooms, with a 68% increase in Latino enrollment across 91 Catholic schools since 2011.

Sisters of Charity – Faithful Advocates for Justice

As a congregation, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati strongly advocate for change in our nation’s unjust immigration policies, as stated in their Public Statement on Immigration, which supports the 2003 Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States. Thirteen years have passed since the Bishops’ call for reform, and yet the message remains critical:

“Migrants and immigrants are in our parishes and in our communities. In both our countries, we see much injustice and violence against them and much suffering and despair among them because civil and church structures are still inadequate to accommodate their basic needs.

We judge ourselves as a community of faith by the way we treat the most vulnerable among us. The treatment of migrants challenges the consciences of elected officials, policymakers, enforcement officers, residents of border communities, and providers of legal aid and social services, many of whom share our Catholic faith.”

– Excerpt from Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Mexico and the U.S.

Sisters stand in solidarity with immigrants, and are committed to ensuring their God-given dignity. They strive to fulfill the words of Christ, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25:40).

Sisters advocate and pray for the women, men and children who seek asylum in our nation – a nation which was founded on the concept that all are created equal, with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

SC Ministry Foundation recognizes the contributions of all of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Catholic Sisters with other congregations, and the faithful lay people who partner with them to support the vulnerable immigrant population.

We challenge our grantees and partners across the nation to join us in daring to risk a caring response, and in advocating for our immigrant sisters and brothers in Christ.

Making the Dream of Homeownership a Reality

Making the Dream of Homeownership a Reality

IMG_7819On a sunny but cool Saturday morning in late February, volunteers gathered at a small construction site on a narrow street in West Price Hill to receive instructions from Natalie, the Habitat for Humanity site manager. Before the construction work would commence for the day, a special ceremony was planned to kick-off the official beginning of the project which would become a new home for a family of five. Soon others joined the gathering – family and friends of the family who would soon call this structure their home.

Just a few months ago Sajah and Earl Woods learned that they and their three children had been accepted as a partner family with Habitat for Humanity. “I have been just so happy and excited about this whole process,” shared Sajah. “But when we drove up today and saw all the people that were here just for us – I felt overwhelmed.”

Building Houses, Building Hope

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati (HFHGC) is a non-profit Christian housing ministry that seeks to eliminate substandard housing by building, renovating and repairing homes in partnership with low-income families. The cost savings from volunteer labor and generous donations allow Habitat homes to be sold to partner families at no profit and financed with no-interest loans. Homeowners are required to invest 500 hours of “sweat-equity” labor, and complete classes in finances and home maintenance.

This is the seventh home that SC Ministry Foundation has supported through Habitat for Humanity. All six of the families from previous builds continue to maintain and reside in their homes.

Mission Moments that Last a Lifetime

The kick-off ceremony included prayers to ask for God’s blessing over the home’s construction, the safety of the workers, and the Woods family. After the ceremony, Sajah’s mother shared that she had been taught by Sisters of Charity throughout her years of education. Now the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati were present in the family’s lives again, through the support from SC Ministry Foundation.