Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives IHC service students continue to make a difference

April 7, 2021

By Patricia Mintner-Powell

Even a year with Covid and its accompanying mandates on social distancing haven’t been able to dampen the determination of Immaculate Heart Central School Faith Community Service students to make a concrete difference in the lives of our neighbors. Instead, adapting to a new landscape simply forced us to get creative.

Our service program’s first priority was to lessen the feelings of isolation among the most vulnerable of Watertown, NY neighbors. IHC’s Cards of Comfort Campaign, launched last spring, drew immediate support from our school’s community. Since then, students throughout the IHC system have sent over 1,000 cards of hope and encouragement to residents at local adult homes and continue to mark each major holiday with these colorful reminders that our elderly are not forgotten.

Because many of our traditional indoor opportunities for service were limited, we concentrated our efforts on outdoor events, and students - eager to serve in any capacity - turned out in record numbers to a car wash supporting victims of the devastating wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, to a community tree planting at our local park and to our annual LEAF Relief for the Elderly fall yard care program.

In December, we organized a candy drive to fill the Christmas stockings of local children. In February, cognizant of the increased food insecurity right here in our own neighborhoods, we held a food drive and collected almost 2,000 items – including over 1,000 cans of soup donated by the Primary School - to be shared with two of our local food pantries.

Further afield we revisited our commitment to the 117 students at our “adopted” girls’ school in Kitenga, Tanzania – recipients of IHC’s annual Respect Life Initiative since 2016 - as these girls, too, faced very real issues due to the pandemic. We got creative again, joining a “virtual” 5K 4:Kitenga hosted by our partners, Girls Education Collaborative. The heart-warming response? Over 100 members of our IHC community stepped forward - some walking, others biking, running or hiking - to raise $2,565, funds that have already helped improve the health and safety of these young women.

An additional fall car wash raised another $1,700 in donations which were augmented by a challenge grant and are helping fund a tuition assistance program allowing those girls whose parents could no longer afford school fees to continue their studies.

And the latest from Kitenga? In December, we received the exciting news that the first class of girls – they call themselves “The Pioneers” – all graduated this winter with 75% of the students ranking in the top tier of Tanzanizan graduates and the remaining 25% in the second tier. What’s even more rewarding is the recent announcement that the Kitenga Girls Secondary School – just four years old - now ranks 1st in the Mara District and 11th in the entire country!

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Immaculate Heart Central remains committed to its mission of “forming responsible citizens whose Christian values will transform the world”.


North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.