During a Mass for the students of St. Theresa Parish School in Evansville, Ind., the priest gave a representative of each grade a $10 bill, telling them to report what they did with the money the next week. Katie Lutz, 10, took the money for the fourth grade class and donated it to the Tri-State Food Bank, because they could turn $10 into $150 worth of food.
Lutz said she remembered when her Girl Scout troop made 250 cookies for a local soup kitchen. I thought theres a lot of hungry people there, and theres a lot of hungry people in Evansville, she said. I thought it would be a nice thing to do instead of just buying candy for my class.
Helping fellow young people is a focal point of service for Adam Tristan, 18, whether its been through mentoring or pumping up the crowd as emcee of a youth peace rally in Austin, Texas, last spring.
Tristan and a group of friends at A.S. Johnston High School in Austin started a group called LIFE -- Leaders In Freshman Education -- to recruit older students to mentor incoming freshmen, showing them the ropes for the transformation from middle school to high school.
Tristan has volunteered as a mentor for at-risk children in younger grades, including some at his own elementary school. The school started me in my education, he said. Ive got to give something back.
Tristan, a member of Santa Julia Parish, has danced with Roy Lozanos Ballet Folklorico for 10 years.
Working with the poorest of the poor is a real privilege, said David Smith, a full-time volunteer at a home for girls in Valencia, Venezuela.
Smith, 42, does whatever needs to be done -- from raising chickens and tending a garden to tutoring English -- at Casa Hogar, a home for up to 80 girls who have been physically or sexually abused. Casa Hogar is run by five Sisters of St. Joseph of Mexico.
A former Christian Brother from Kansas City, Mo., Smith has initiated fundraising efforts through his family parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. He has also organized a correspondence between Casa Hogar and Spanish classes at the parish school to evangelize the Northern church from the South. Well do it through art, music and food -- God knows thats how I find God.
Send suggestions for Keeping Faith to Teresa Malcolm at NCR. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
National Catholic Reporter, July 2, 1999