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Believe in developing young minds: CC Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi

new 06 4.6.17_chris.ccChristopher Bowen thrived academically and socially with the help of Catholic Charities Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi. (Courtesy photo)

April 13, 2017
Catholic Charities

First of a three-part series on Catholic Charities Sunday

When Christopher Bowen first came to Catholic Charities Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi in East Palo Alto, he was struggling with his grades, had a hard time socializing with his peers and was often the target of school bullies.

“When Christopher first came to our program, he had a 0.5 GPA in school and his mother was often told that the most he could hope for in the future was for him to get into a junior college,” said Mar Y Sol Alvarado, Catholic Charities Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi program director. “Luckily, our program was a perfect fit for Chris; students welcomed him with open arms and over the years he thrived.”

Dedicated staff members and volunteers helped Chris focus on his school work, and now in his senior year of high school, he has a 3.5 GPA. This past December, he received an acceptance letter and scholarship to a four-year university.

Over 70 percent of East Palo Alto children drop out of high school. Of the few who do graduate, barely 10 percent enroll in a four‐year institution. Catholic Charities Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi helps youth grow into responsible adults by providing athletic and educational activities that foster character development, academic achievement, physical fitness, and community and environmental stewardship.

“We believe that if we provide education and support for low-income children, then we can break the cycles of intergenerational poverty,” said Jeff Bialik, Catholic Charities executive director. “All children, regardless of where they grow up, deserve the chance to graduate high school and pursue higher education. Thank you to everyone in the archdiocese whose gifts of time, talent and treasure have made our work possible.”

Catholic Charities Youth Club at St. Francis of Assisi depends on the generosity of our community to be here when students like Chris need us.

Learn more about how you can volunteer or make a gift at CatholicCharitiesSF.org.

Catholic Charities Sunday is the annual second collection that supports Catholic Charities. This year’s collection will be on May 13-14. Last year, parishioners collectively contributed more than $221,683 to change the lives of our neighbors in need.

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