Christian Brothers Academy is focusing on children of the world during this year’s Lenten Drive. The Lenten Drive is organized by Peer Ministry and hopes to raise both awareness and funding for two worthy organizations by presenting information about them and collecting money and donated items in homerooms.
CBA students volunteer at Northside CYO, a neighborhood center run by Catholic Charities. It is located on North Salina Street. The area is heavily populated with refugees, who arrive here from camps in places like Burma, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Congo. The volunteers and staff at Northside CYO not only help the adult refugees to learn English and otherwise acclimate to the U.S., but also run an after school and summer program to help the children with language and to successfully integrate into the community. All of these children were born in refugee camps.
The Peer Ministers decided to help out the CYO by having the seniors at CBA fulfill the wish list of the program. Senior homerooms will collect money or go and purchase the wish list items.
While the senior class’ donations will go local, grades 7-11 will donate to CBA’s twin school in Nakura, Kenya at the Child Discovery Center.
At the Child Discovery Center, the Brothers take in street children from the slums of Nakuru, give them a home, and make sure they get an education. Many of these children were either abandoned by families who could not care for them, or the parents had died of AIDS or other diseases. Children as young as age 2 roam the streets of Nakuru, subjected to violence, picking food from the garbage, sleeping on the concrete. The benefit of giving to the CDC is that every penny raised goes directly to the Brothers at the Center to use for water, seeds, uniforms and other basics. Unlike other charities, there are no administrative coststaken out.
The annual Lenten Drive officially kicked off the week following winter break. Peer Ministers spoke to each religion class and educated them on the Northside CYO and the CDC.
“Learning about the kids and actually getting a chance to work with some of them over at the Northside CYO, made it real for me,” shared junior Deshawn Salter, who was one of the Peer Ministers that presented the information to the religion classes. “So many times we have a tendency to think “oh, those kids are all the way in Africa, they don’t affect me.” In getting familiar with the CYO and also the Child Discovery Center, our twin school, you realize that these are real humans forced to face challenges 100 times more difficult than the ones we are facing.
“My eyes are truly opened by this experience,” Salter continued. “I’ve actually noticed a lot of the things I used to take for granted. I guess you have to put yourself in their shoes, what’s it like to be them? I think of how they must look at us. Gifted and blessed to be in the situation we are, we have an opportunity togive and change their lives if only we can find a little generosity within our hearts.”
Junior Deshawn Salter discusses this year’s Lenten Drive with a religion class.