Church, Community Partnership with North Elementary Leads to Improved Academic Achievement in Brighton, CO
One year ago the Colorado IAF, Brighton Education Association and Northern Hills Church initiated an organizing campaign at North Elementary School, the lowest ranking of all schools in the 27J School District. Over the course of the year, North demonstrated the largest improvement in academic scores of any school in the district and one of the highest in the state (see article below). As a result, North changed its academic status from "improvement" to "performance."
Leaders initially began by developing individual relationships between congregational members and educators, and then reaching out to parents through neighborhood walks and pancake breakfast gatherings. Together, they succeeded in establishing a before- and after-school care program for students and an intensive tutoring program that matched community volunteers -- mostly from Northern Hills Church, with students demonstrating the greatest academic need. North Elementary staff additionally pursued internal changes including the reorganization of instructional teams and changes to the Master Schedule to better incorporate literacy and math blocks.
School-based leaders expressed pride over the dramatic improvement in academic achievement and gratefulness for the partnership with Northern Hills Chapel.
Caring For Students Home By Home in Brighton, Colorado Education Association
Spanish-Language Training, and Bishops' Support, Leads to Acceptance of Church ID by Dallas-Area Police Departments
Six months after 85 Spanish-speaking leaders from twelve immigrant parishes participated in two-day leadership development training co-sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), Interfaith Education Fund and Dallas Area Interfaith, leaders negotiated ground breaking changes in police department policy in order to engender greater trust between police and immigrants. For the first time in North Texas, immigrants without state ID will be allowed to use parish identification cards to identify themselves with Farmers Branch, Carrollton and Dallas Police Department officers.
Sunday evening, hundreds of leaders were turned away from a sanctuary already overflowing with 1,500 Dallas Area Interfaith leaders at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Farmers Branch. Nine years ago, the city of Farmers Branch was best-known for passing the first anti-immigrant law in Texas, which included fines for landlords renting to undocumented immigrants. The police department paid a price in community trust -- one motivation for publicly pledging to accept parish IDs.
Catholic Bishop Edward Burns drew the most applause when he announced, "Jesus said whoever welcomes the stranger, welcomes me. The Church as the mother will do whatever we can for the members of our immigrant community."
This approval will help the estimated 231,000 immigrants who call Dallas home.
[Photo Credits: (top) Dallas Morning News, (bottom) Catholic Diocese of Dallas]
Hundreds Meet to Discuss Immigration, Parish ID Card, Texas Catholic
170 Catholics from the Diocese of Las Vegas participated in three days of Spanish-language training made possible with the support of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Bishop Joseph A. Pepe. The training took place at Holy Family Catholic Church.
Spanish-Speaking Leaders from Archdiocese of Los Angeles Join Bishop for Training on Habits & Practices of Leadership
Thanks to a generous grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Interfaith Education Fund, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Archdiocese and local organizations One LA and ICON, prepared 76 immigrant leaders in the habits and practices of leadership.
The two-day training, held at John Bosco Tech High was organized to allow participants to reflect and act on the mission of the church for the greater good of our communities. Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell joined the trainees on both days of the course, inspiring many to take next steps to become leaders in their parishes.
Parents, teachers, principals, and community leaders of Nevadans for the Common Good gathered on a Saturday to evaluate their first year working with Alliance Schools. They additionally incorporated a training on building a relational culture in schools in order to hit the ground running in the fall!
In Spanish-language leadership development training delivered in collaboration with TMO (The Metropolitan Organization), the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), 78 Houston-area leaders learned about the mission of the church and the responsibility to put their faith into action.
Leaders drew on Pope Francis’ words for inspiration, from a speech delivered at the 2nd World Meeting of Popular Movements (October 2015):
“Quisiera volver a unir mi voz a la de ustedes: tierra, techo y trabajo para todos nuestros hermanos y hermanos. Lo dije y lo repito: son derechos sagrados. Vale la pena luchar por ellos.”
The training was co-sponsored by the Interfaith Education Fund.
Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith organizer Lady Carlson teaches "Organizing 101" to potential institutional leaders in Northern Louisiana.
85 Spanish-speaking leaders from twelve immigrant Catholic parishes participated in a three-day leadership development training to prepare to engage fellow parishioners -- both documented and undocumented -- in the formation of a strategy that responds to the interests of immigrants, and the community as a whole. The training was delivered in collaboration with the Dallas Area Interfaith, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). [In photo, Auxillary Bishop Greg Kelly stands with participants who completed the training.]
Upon completion of the training the leaders committed to working with Dallas Catholic Bishop Edward J. Burns on his newly formed Immigration Task Force, and to organize in their parishes around congregational needs.
Follow up meetings with clergy, immigration, law enforcement officials and elected officials have been scheduled since the training.
The training was co-sponsored by the Interfaith Education Fund.
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church hosted the Southern Arizona Interfaith - PCICEO Hispanic Leaders group for a training on "Poder." Twenty-five leaders, many of which attended a 3-day Spanish training last November, discussed power, conducted house meetings and planned for the future with Fr. Vili Valderrama. Participating parishes included: St. Cyril’s, Sacred Heart, St. Monica’s, St. Augustine Cathedral, St. Christopher’s, Our Lady of Fatima, Sacred Heart, St. John’s and San Martin de Porres.
Those who attended the November training are now organizing sessions on immigration and other topics in their parishes, including a Know Your Rights and Citizenship forum put together by the leadership team of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church with Catholic Community Services (in right photo). Immigration lawyer Amy Fairchild-Haer dispelled common rumors and answered questions. Msgr. Raul Trevizo, Pat Alvarez, Sofia Rodriguez and Lorena Santos led house meetings and distributed a “Plan de Preparacion” for parish members.
Training was also conducted at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic and St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic churches.
"...The experience that night and what I learned in its aftermath changed the way I am a rabbi . It encouraged me to step outside my comfort level and to work with One LA / Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s largest and longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations, when I came to my congregation. Through One LA we have worked with other faith communities, institutions, and unions, because… in spite of our differences—one group sings, another group eats… we are all in this together...."