One of the great equalizers for economic opportunity in this world is education.
Education can break down barriers in the way sports can blur the lines of division. If you are athletic and have the drive and desire to excel in a sport, you will probably find yourself with more playing time than someone less gifted.
It doesn’t matter what your zip code is. If you are the fastest running back on the team, you will find yourself with the football when your team needs to move the ball.
In a similar way, education can help ensure you have a better opportunity for “playing time” when it comes to choosing a college or vocation. Education can prepare you for opportunities that provide a choice for higher wages or a career that you choose.
In our archdiocese, we find an opportunity to provide that education to our children, as well as other children living in poverty right here in our community.
The Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) works year-round with donors to sponsor scholarships for children living in poverty to attend Catholic schools in our archdiocese.
These scholarships provide opportunities for families who would otherwise never consider the rich academic history and faith-filled environment of a Catholic school because they thought it was out of their financial reach.
These families make sacrifices for this opportunity by also investing their time, talent and treasure so their children can be formed in a Catholic school.
There are currently 22 schools in our archdiocese that are designated CEF schools, and the statistics are compelling: 99 percent of the students attending our CEF high school graduate and 98.7 percent continue their post-high school education. At the nearest neighborhood high school, only 70 percent graduate and only 33 percent seek a post-high school education.
Each October, we gather at an event called “Gaudeamus” (which is Latin for “Let us rejoice”) to help children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend our Catholic schools.
We hear stories of families who could easily be our neighbors, our children’s classmates or people we see at Mass.
We learn about the financial challenges they face, and the sacrifices they make to keep their children in the safe, nurturing environment of our Catholic schools.
We hear about their desire to have their children learn the faith during a crucial stage in their lives when they are heavily influenced by outside factors.
Although CEF is currently supporting about 1,400 students, there are an additional 395 children in our archdiocese awaiting the opportunity to attend our Catholic schools.
With your help, we are confident we can get them there.
Won’t you join us?