The Valley Catholic August 20, 2019 - Page 22

22 August 20, 2019 | The Valley Catholic CATHOLIC SCHOOLS Santa Clara County and Santa Clara University - Thriving Together By Nina Mota Santa Clara University’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education recently re- ceived a $21,000 grant from the County of Santa Clara to support its five-year- old Thriving Neighbors program. That program helps support education for children in the Greater Washington neighborhood of San José, including Washington Elementary School, while promoting pathways to prosperity for families facing economic challenges. The grant is the first government grant ever received by the Ignatian Center, according to Executive Direc- tor Father Dorian Llywelyn, S.J., and is a testament to the program’s growing value to the community. “We are particularly excited by this development. It’s a vote of confidence in the impact of our work in adult and child education together with the inhabitants of the Greater Washington neighborhood,” says Llywelyn. “All our community work is done in a whole network of collaborations, and we are delighted to add Santa Clara County as a partner.” The grant was proposed by San- ta Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who felt Thriving Neighbors was well-aligned with the county’s core mission of serving high-need commu- nities and neighborhoods. “Our county programs and Thriv- ing Neighbors complement each other,” said Supervisor Chavez. That synergy, along with Thriving Neighbors’ “track record of success, make this a sound investment,” she added. The $21,000 grant from Santa Clara County, matched by the Ignatian Cen- ter, will allow Thriving Neighbors to expand its after-school enrichment initiatives across the neighborhood, increase participation in the My Own Business Institute entrepreneurship course, further its work with the public school-based Bronco Urban Garden initiative, and more. “This grant will allow us to offer more residents in the Greater Wash- ington Community a chance to explore new entrepreneurial opportunities,” says Irene Cermeño, program director for Thriving Neighbors. Santa Clara University’s Ignatian Center has a history of wide and deep community impact. As one of three “Centers of Distinction” at the university, the center exemplifies and activates the Jesuit, Catholic charac- ter of SCU, and through its Thriving Neighbors program, that character is put into action in the community of Greater Washington. SCU faculty, staff and students have Monarchs ‘Change the World’ By Danielle Judilla ’20 Everyone has gone through a “fa- vorite song” phase at least once in their life. At first, it’s a couple of head bops or foot taps, but soon enough, it becomes a tune on constant repeat that you can’t get out of your head. At Archbishop Mitty High School, we pick a liturgical theme song each school year and sing it as an entire school at every liturgy, Mass, and as- sembly. As a member of Exodus, the school’s liturgical rock band, I’ll sing it at least 54 times in 10 months. Be- ing in this band has given me many incredible opportunities, but the most meaningful moment to me is being able to carry on our liturgical theme song tradition. For my senior year, the school’s liturgical theme song is “Change the World” by Derek Minor and it encourages students to stand up and use God’s gifts to make the world better. When I first listened to this song, I knew it would perfectly capture our Archbishop Mitty family. Derek Mi- nor’s lyrics include the line: “Beautiful people, don’t you know you’re made in his image / The image of greatness.” Are you connected with the Diocese of San José? Visit us online Like us on Facebook Diocese of San José Follow us on Twitter @DioceseSanJose Archbishop Mitty students spread the Word of God through song. This is something that all Archbishop Mitty students find in all that they do, including in their interactions with friends and teachers. Because this is part of our mission statement, students can also see it in big bold letters when they walk into our Sobrato Student Life Center. Not only are these words meaningful for the Archbishop Mitty community, but they have special meaning for me. I learned many dif- worked side-by-side with local resident leaders, schools, and agencies to devel- op and sustain a variety of community- based, public service programs. These initiatives include entrepreneurship classes for adults after-school enrich- ment courses,community gardening projects, environmental improve- ments, health and wellness-centered activities, and more. “Thriving Neighbors projects have accumulated over 15,000 hours of university-community engagement time and service this past year alone and have made a real impact as mea- sured by children’s achievement and parent satisfaction,” said Jen Merritt, director of community-based learning programs at the Ignatian Center. “In the midst of this collaborative work, what we find most rewarding is the way in which community resi- dents from Greater Washington have become co-educators with our SCU faculty,” says Merritt. “When they form strong bonds with SCU students, welcoming them into their homes and encouraging them to serve as men- tors for their children on the path to college readiness, they are teaching these college students that, together, we can make a positive difference in our communities.” ferent teachings about God when I was growing up, but the first one I can recall is that “Jesus is in everyone we see.” That’s why when I volunteer at my church, I do my absolute best to make sure no child is excluded and that they all feel welcomed. My active faith and passion for singing are two very extraordinary parts of my life. Exodus gave me the chance to combine these passions and become a messenger of God while do- ing something I love. Singing this song to the school is a phenomenal feeling because I get to be one of the people telling everyone that it’s their moment and it’s time to “let your light shine.” Knowing that I’m encouraging our Archbishop Mitty community to take action and change the world makes me feel so blessed. Every liturgical theme song has its message, but this one really inspires me and the rest of our student body to stand up and advocate for what is right. Follow us on Instagram @DioceseSanJose Information about parishes, schools, programs, events, jobs, ministries and more! More information regarding Catholic Schools in the Diocese of San José can be found at