Small children running down a hallway.

SVFS Residential Treatment Center Renovation

Since its inception in 1875, St. Vincent Family Services (SVFS) has been committed to supporting the well-being, safety, and social-emotional health needs of children ages 0-17 through a comprehensive full-service range of behavioral health programs.  The demand for critical behavioral health care services continues to grow, especially for families living with the impact of poverty and trauma, not including the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Having the facility and resources to provide quality, equitable treatment to their most vulnerable client population – children ages 5-12 – living onsite in child welfare custody and receiving acute behavioral health services was a top priority.  From a workforce perspective, having a safe, functional space enhances morale, efficiency, and wellness for those who provide year-round, 24/7 care.  

St. Vincent Family Services started a much-needed renovation to their Residential Treatment Center through the support of a multi-year responsive grant from The Catholic Foundation.  The facility, which hasn’t been updated since the 1990s, will provide a magnitude of improved space and safety features that include updated medical spaces, classrooms, and family engagement rooms; increased safety features in bedrooms, classrooms, and corridor spaces; and employee break spaces and renovated administrative space.  Sara Russell, Director of Community Engagement & Marketing, says the updated Residential Treatment Center will help SVFS continue to deliver quality care to the multitude of children and families who rely on therapy, education, and case management. “This vital renovation will improve equity of care across our programs, enhance our ability to care for the comprehensive needs of youth and their families, and support the well-being and retention of our hardworking essential workforce.”

Two young girls reading a religious book on a blue rug.

St. Francis de Sales Classical Education Curriculum

St. Francis de Sales in Newark is taking big steps to return to its true roots as an authentically Catholic school by adopting the Classical Education Curriculum. This program ensures that students’ Catholic identity is not simply added on, but woven through a school’s culture, curriculum, content, and instruction.  Implementation of this new curriculum started in 2021-22 school year and is projected to take three years to fulling integrate throughout St. Francis de Sales.  “Putting Christ at the center of all learning is the objective but the underlining benefit is our children are learning from an understanding that faith and reason are entwined,” says Edward Watson, Vice Principal of St. Francis de Sales Elementary School. 

Since the implementation of the Classical Education Curriculum, there has been an awakening to the Catholic faith and a sense of closeness to the fellowship of the Church.  This has led to more students becoming altar servers, singing in the choir, and developing a deeper love for the sacraments and Eucharist.   St. Francis de Sales is also seeing an increase in engagement among families. Some students’ desire for a deeper faith is actively bringing parents back to church or into the Church.  In the past, 10-15 students were present at Sunday mass. Now, the numbers are closer to 50-60 at the 11:00 am mass alone.  “The ripple effect that is taking place from school to home is truly a thing of beauty,” notes Mr. Watson.

Enrollment is up at St. Francis de Sales and there is a genuine excitement around the transition to a Classical Education Curriculum that is transcending the classroom.  Most importantly, there is peace of mind knowing all learning stems from our Catholic faith.  

A responsive grant from The Catholic Foundation helped fund the pilot years of the Classical Educational Curriculum at St. Francis de Sales.

Young men in white and red robes carrying a statue with a wooden holder adorned with flowers

St. Patrick Parish Vocations – Youth Endowment Fund

St. Patrick Church is situated in downtown Columbus surrounded by warehouses and a secular community college.  It has no neighborhood or school that would naturally connect the faithful to its pews.  Instead, the 1,000 families that make up St. Patrick go out of their way to be a part of this vibrant community rooted in the efforts of the Dominican friars who feel a strong sense to carry forth the tradition of Catholic education and worship.  One way the friars bring Catholics closer to Christ is by fostering vocations through their youth faith formation programs. 

About nine years ago, a group of St. Patrick parishioners got together to understand how they could keep momentum going with the parish’s youth ministry programs. John Schlater was involved with these initial discussions.  He and his wife, Deb, have been involved with St. Patrick’s for over 20 years. “There is a genuine vigor from the Dominican friars when it comes to working with our young people.  We needed to find a way to ensure that resources would be available to sustain current and future youth ministries,” said Mr. Schlater.  What came about from these gatherings was the creation of The St. Patrick Parish Vocations-Youth Endowment Fund.  

The Fund helps support a variety of programs, including youth ministry programs, weekly catechesis (CCD) and sacramental preparation, campus outreach to Catholic students at Columbus State Community College and Columbus College of Art and Design, and St. Patrick’s altar server program.  Currently, there are over 100 active members in youth ministry programs and over 250 children participating in CCD.  

In addition, over the last 15 years, more than 20 young men and women have entered formation for the priesthood and religious life from St. Patrick.  “If there are resources to support youth ministry programs, there should be a logical transgression to religious life for young Catholics,” notes Mr. Schlater.  He also credits the Dominican friars and their efforts to educate and inspire the youth.  “The children see them living with a sense of purpose and the happiness that stems from the Dominican way of life.”  

Child being handed a book from a woman in a classroom setting.
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“Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 
2 Corinthians 9: 6-7