Grant fosters community support and personal growth for area children and Saint Joseph’s students

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Funded by a grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Saint Joseph’s students have joined 42 national Catholic organizations from 38 states to participate in Catholic Charities’ National Mentoring Program. As the only college selected for this grant, the College will receive $42,000 to fund nine student-mentors over 24 months.

Working directly with the Portland-based Catholic Charities Maine, “Students will work with refugee and immigrant children,” says Kathryn Cody, Saint Joseph’s coordinator of social justice and leadership. In addition to assisting with homework and taking the children, ages 11 to 16, on field trips, the mentors will work to build lasting relationships with their mentees.

The goal of the entire national program is to reach more than 500 children over the course of the grant’s funding of two years. Being part of such a select group of recipients, Saint Joseph’s students will play a major part in reaching this goal and in having a great effect on the community.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Cody says, “for our students to see what’s going on in the community and for the youth, who can go on and get their own education in the future.”

Catholic Charities USA President Rev. Larry Snyder said in a press release, “So often services that are directed towards at-risk youth neglect to incorporate the important role an individual mentor can play in the life of a child.” Fortunately, the grant was awarded to the perfect college to have the greatest impact on area youth.

“Students don’t attend Saint Joseph’s just to have a piece of paper after four years,” Cody says. “They come for the knowledge and care for people of all walks of life. It’s important that you don’t just exist on campus, but that you exist in the greater community, and that’s a big part of this grant. And the College’s values work right with this: We’re working toward justice and educating the whole person.”