e-mail us

Keep the Faith

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 there’s a lot of hungry people there, and there’s 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 it’s 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. “I’ve got to give something back.”

Tristan, a member of Santa Julia Parish, has danced with Roy Lozano’s 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. We’ll do it through art, music and food -- God knows that’s how I find God.”

Send suggestions for Keeping Faith to Teresa Malcolm at NCR. Her e-mail address is tmalcolm@natcath.org

National Catholic Reporter, July 2, 1999