Last year, on Palm Sunday, a 15-year-old boy was killed a block and a half from my house. He was shot down in the street because his brother was connected with a gang. At least, that’s the story that I heard. His two companions were also shot, but managed to flee the scene. It was one of the most horrible nights of my life as I stood there and watched his friends and family members rolling on the ground in sorrow, walking around crying, and calling others to tell them the news.
That night I didn’t think I could continue living in a neighborhood where things like that happen. I wanted to pack up and move back to Virginia where no one was ever shot and killed just a few houses from me.
But moving wasn’t an option. My husband (at the time he was my fiancé) lived in that neighborhood because he works at Franciscan University of Steubenville, which is located on the next hilltop.
Over the next few days as I processed what had happened something became clear to me. If I was going to stay in this neighborhood I needed to do what I could to help the neighborhood. I couldn’t live in a place where children are killed and just ignore it. But what could I do?
I have training in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and through that a familiarity with the Montessori method. I know what both of these programs can do to help a child learn to have respect for himself and for others. I know that CGS is one of the best ways to help a young child encounter the Lord who alone can bring hope to difficult circumstances. I knew that I had something valuable I could offer. But I didn’t have the space or the money to offer it.
Then, this past October, a one room former church building just a short walk from our house went up for sale. It needed renovation, but it was the perfect location to offer a program that could bring hope, independence, order, and a model of healthy community to children in our neighborhood who so need those things. God seemed to be opening the way. After weeks of prayer, and with my husband of just 5 months supporting me, I made a offer and it was accepted.
What followed was a whirlwind of setting up a non-profit, putting together a board of trustees, and applying to the city for a grant of conditional use.
Now we are fundraising to make our vision a reality. We feel strongly that God has guided the path of this project to date. We trust in Him that if this truly is the path He wants us to take to help our neighbors the funding will come as well.
If you would like to help us in this endeavor please consider making a donation, no matter how small. And please keep us and our work in your prayers. Thank you!