Through the Office of Community Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship, Loyola University New Orleans students partnered with Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), a Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) funded organization. FFLIC advocates for children incarcerated in the juvenile system, gives a voice to parents when their children are taken from them, and works to reform the practices and culture in juvenile facilities to provide a nurturing and rehabilitative environment for incarcerated children. Members of FFLIC utilize collective action and solidarity to reform the system as they are directly involved in the justice system. The Office of Community Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship shares this model for social change and strives to work “with and for” its communities. Students volunteered 842 hours of service in total as a part of a capstone course on Public Relations and Advertising. The ten students enrolled in this course produced a comprehensive strategic communications plan for FFLIC. Students were able to capitalize on the skills they learned in class to meet the needs of those in their community. Incorporating working for justice into courses is one way that the University lives its Catholic identity and involves students in issues affecting the local community.
Diocesan Catholic Campaign for Human Development staff in Dallas, TX partnered with the University of Dallas to educate students about the reality of poverty in the United States. Working together, they created the Journey to Justice Retreat (J2J) to teach students about poverty in the local community and throughout the country. Participants learned about local and national poverty through resources such as Poverty USA, CCHD’s online poverty resource.
To increase awareness of CCHD and give concrete witness to its work, CCHD-funded organization Texas Tenant Union (TTU) was featured throughout the retreat. TTU is a community organizing group dedicated to fighting for more and better low-income housing through legislation, free legal counsel for low-income tenants, and rights education and counseling for tenants. The 2015-16 CCHD intern Colleen says the retreat showed students the importance of CCHD in that TTU “wouldn’t have been able to do nearly as much without the CCHD resources” available to them, which inspired many students to get involved with anti-poverty organizations. Journey to Justice is just one way in which the University lives its Catholic identity and increases student awareness and involvement in social justice in their local communities.
Learn more about CCHD and other successful campus partnerships here!
As a Vincentian University, Saint John’s University (SJU) has long been committed to the pursuit of justice and charity, and has successfully combined the two in its three-year long partnership with the Don Bosco Workers (DBW), a Port Chester, NY based organization funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). DBW is a ground-up community organizing group that advocates for worker and economic justice.
Thanks to the leadership of Meghan Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies at SJU, the campus-community partnership has blossomed into a fruitful relationship where DBW representatives visit Clark’s students in her course on Catholic Social Teaching. The representatives engage with students around issues of wage theft, local worker justice and the DBW-CCHD relationship.
This year the class presented their research on fair trade initiatives and forced labor in Brazil in SJU’s inaugural Solidarity Festival. The Festival entailed a full day of presentations, featuring DBW, the social justice artwork of Sol Aramendi, SJU Fair Trade, SJU CRS Ambassadors, and GLOBE, SJU’s academic program on microfinancing. DBW participated in a panel on wage theft, and the day ended with a Mass for worker justice celebrated by Fr. Patrick Griffin, the director of SJU’s Vincentian Center for Church and Society.
Dr. Clark comments that the partnership flows from the Vincentian concern for charity and justice, and helps students conceptualize the answer to the Vincentian question “‘What must be done’ with respect to wage theft and exploitation of day laborers.”
Read more about Saint John’s University and other CCHD-campus partnerships here!
How does your college or university work to alleviate poverty? Let us know!
Every year, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (that’s this Sunday!), the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (an initiative under the US Conference of Catholic Bishops) holds its annual collection. This collection is different from others not only because 25% of the collection goes to your own local diocese, but also because the remaining 75% of the proceeds go to social justice projects across the country. Grassroots organizations apply for grants through the CCHD, and the grant money is used to address the root causes of poverty by helping people to help themselves.
What does this have to do with Catholic higher education? Catholic colleges and universities have a long history of rich partnerships with CCHD-funded groups – from helping a community coffee shop get off the ground to leading advocacy for workers’ rights.
Campuses can get involved in the fight against poverty in a number of ways – whether students donate funds, host a collection at their university, or educate and learn by reading the blog for the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, which often features CCHD stories. This weekend, contribute to the Twitter campaign #powerofCCHD. If you want your campus to partner with a CCHD-funded group in your diocese, contact us at ACCU and we’ll put you in touch!