Daily Point of Light # 2625 Feb 26, 2004

For the past five years, St. Joseph Catholic School has been involved in Make A Difference Day. Participation has become a tradition at St. Joseph School. Past projects have included completely renovating a transitional housing facility of The Salvation Army, raising money for Canine Companions for Independence (trained dogs for the handicapped) and Candlelighter’s of Brevard (non-profit organization that helps children with cancer in Brevard County). Last year’s project was a shoreline habitat restoration of the Indian River Lagoon in honor of a September 11th victim. The school is continuing their working relationship with Marine Resources Council that began last year with plans to build a greenhouse on campus.

The goal of this year’s project was to raise awareness and money to help open the doors of The Sue Pridmore Center for Homeless Women and Women with Children. The students also built a playground, landscaped the facility and created inspirational banners to be hung inside. Prior to the event the students collected personal hygiene items for the shelter residents. This newly constructed, yet unopened facility needs the financial support of the community to open the doors. Through the work of St. Joseph Catholic School students and the coverage of the local newspaper, others have been inspired and in turn have come forward. A $5,000 donation was recently made as a result of the Make A Difference Day project.

The children throughout the school year collect canned goods for the hungry. When the community is notified of shortages, the schoolchildren step in to do their part. Beneficiaries of canned food drives have been the Saint Vincent DePaul Society, Daily Bread, and Project Response. When the local animal shelter’s shelves were empty, the students collected canned and dried food for the animals.

Each year, the students spend two hours on Friday afternoons visiting with the residents at the home. Students collect personal items and create gifts for the residents during the holidays. They are also invited to the school to watch Christmas Plays and Spring Musicals. The 1st graders sing for them annually at the holidays.

The school also participates annually in National projects such as Pennies for Pasta that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Jump Rope for Heart that benefits the American Heart Association and for the past nine years has participated in OxFam. Last year, through the forfeiture of their lunches, the students collected $767.50 for OxFam to help stamp out hunger around the world.

The students at Saint Joseph School have learned that making a difference in their community is what life is all about. They are always involved in a food drive, collecting items for the needy, or planning the next volunteer project. There is never a time that they are not being taught to think of the less fortunate. Teaching the next generation at an early age to care about others and show their compassion by taking action is what education at Saint Joseph School is all about.