Summer camps, day trips and health checks for the elderly, new computers for schools. These are just a handful of the projects made possible by grants from the Catholic Foundation. Every year parishes and schools are invited to submit requests for programs or special projects they would like to do, but can’t cover in their usual budgets.
Mound Bayou’s St. Gabriel Mercy Center uses a grant for a senior outreach program. A group of 20 seniors took more than a dozen field trips last year, including a couple to the B.B. King museum for fun, and some to health care centers for health checks. The grant report stated that some of the participants have lost weight and improved their blood pressure since starting the program. The group also meets weekly for conversations, birthday parties, art and jewelry projects and continuing education. Grant money helps pay for healthy meals for the seniors, even when they are on their field trips.
At Camden Sacred Heart, 45 young people had the opportunity to go to two different summer camps. The first, in June, focused on academics, helping the kids prevent what teachers call the “summer slide” of losing skills when they are out of class. The second camp, in late July, was all about human development. Campers and counselors talked about conflict management, anger and how to solve problems. In his grant progress report, Father Raul Ventura, ST, pastor, thanked the Foundation for its contribution to the camps.
“Our children need this program, especially in this isolated part of the country where they are often forgotten,” he wrote. The camps also provide opportunities for young people in the area. This year two former campers worked as youth leaders and a third acted as a leader in training. These are new positions for the program and they let the teens get much-needed leadership experience.
Students at Greenwood St. Francis School took advantage of new computers for their classrooms thanks to Foundation grant money. The school used a grant and money from a fund raiser to put eight new machines in use before Christmas last year. Sister Mary Ann Tupy, OSF, principal said the teachers really appreciate the speed and ease of access the new equipment offers.
Other grants funded advanced training in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for Stacy Wolf at Pearl St. Jude Parish, food pantries, walkway coverings and other property improvements at other parishes and communities.
“No project is too big or too small for consideration,” said Rebecca Harris, Foundation executive director. “We have found that there are lots of creative ideas out there that could get done with a little help,” she added. The foundation accepts applications through the end of August. A progress report on each project is due by the following August. Parishes and schools can find the application and the progress report forms on the Catholic Foundation website, http://foundation.jacksondiocese.org.