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SMC hosts community dinner to benefit Title I school

| Monday, November 10, 2014

More than 50 Saint Mary’s students from four different residence halls will participate in a community dinner Wednesday in Rice Commons of the Student Center to benefit local Title I middle school, Navarre Intermediate Center.

Senior ministry assistant Kaitlyn Maierhofer, one of the dinner’s coordinators, said the event includes a talk given by Saint Mary’s alumna Jackie Bauters and writing letters to students at Navarre.

“Similar to last year, there was one [dinner] in each residence hall,” Maierhofer said. “This year, we’re just combining them [from] all four. It’s meant to bring together different people from different halls, and we’re just going to have a little discussion about our gifts, what stood out for you in the talk, what in the talk resonates with your own situation and desires, what are some of your gifts and passions.”

Maierhofer said each dinner table will have a discussion facilitator to encourage further conversation and will work together to wrap books and write letters for each student in an effort to encourage reading and the importance of education.

“We [got] a whole bunch of middle school books,” she said. “We’re going to write to the students and then they’re going to get the books. It’s going to be great.”

Although each hall did a different project last year, the ministry assistants decided to unite the College community in through this new approach, Maierhofer said.

“Each of the [ministry assistants] have a role,” she said. “I’m personally introducing the activities. I talk about Title I schools.”

Maierhofer said Title I schools are given additional federal financial assistance because a large portion of the student population is from low-income families. The schools provide students with supplementary educational programs such as free tutoring and mentoring as well as free snacks and meals, she said.

“Title I schools may serve certain types of students such as students with low English-speaking proficiency, homeless students, students with disabilities and at-risk students,” Maierhofer said. “The funds for Title I schools go directly to serving the needs of the student population.”

She said there are 12 Title I Elementary Schools in South Bend and one Title I middle school.

“We’re just working with Navarre Intermediate,” Maierhofer said. “We are doing this through the [Office for Civil and Social Engagement]. … They gave us the ages and genders for all students. [Then] we went and bought books for each student.

“We’re focusing on how we’re going to use our passions and gifts with the Title I schools. We’re applying what we’re talking about. Unless you’re really involved with education or unless you attended a Title I school, you really don’t know anything about Title I schools.”

Maierhofer said the other ministry assistants’ main goal for the dinner is to educate the Saint Mary’s student body on the world beyond campus and provide a channel in which they can become involved once they leave that bubble.

“It’s just trying to educate our student body, our Saint Mary’s community, on what’s happening outside of the Saint Mary’s bubble on how we can serve them,” she said. “We’re always going to have Title I schools … anywhere we go.”

Maierhofer said the opportunity to educate, a passion her math major for secondary education has fostered, is the biggest personal reward she gains for organizing and contributing to this dinner.

“It makes me feel good, doing this stuff,” Maierhofer said. “I just want to educate the community and get more people excited about serving others. It’s a whole circle with actually teaching in the classroom then bringing that out and teaching my residents as a ministry assistant and teaching my friends and having that compassion to not judge those students.

“You can’t really ever judge. You have to go in with an open heart.”

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