A direct outcome of the annual Marist Youth gatherings in the creation of Marist Youth groups within each of our U.S. Marist schools. Students in these groups try to incorporate the Marist heritage and values in the many activities they promote in their schools. As a result, our students learn that being Marist is a way of life and that has given rise to our motto, “Marist Youth today; Marist always.”
Marist Youth events are set up to include all Marist Saint Joseph Academy students who wish to participate.
Marist Youth Leadership Team puts together several events throughout the school year to enrich the experience of spirituality among all members of our community. Marist Youth Leaders (MYLs) are on hand to help kick-off the new school year at the New Student Orientation and the Back to School BBQ. This year, every new student received a free “We Are Marist” t-shirt along with other Marist items in their SJA swag bags.
One of the primary events of the Marist Youth Leadership Team is the “We Are Marist Youth” Freshman Retreat. After being formed at the Marist Youth Leadership Camp in August, the MYLs are prepared to lead the 9th graders to explore what being Marist really means and looks like, through prayer, reflection, and dynamic activities and games.
The Marist Lock-In takes place the evening before our annual Marist Day of Service, when our students venture into our community to do service. The Lock-In consisted of several talks about service and the passion that drives people in our community to serve others. It is a fun-filled evening consisting of team-building activities, group sharing, and prayer.
For the Marist Day of Service, SJA students and faculty spend a Saturday serving the community at places like Good Neighbor Settlement House, Proyecto Juan Diego, Moody Clinic, Brownsville Animal Shelter, Tip-o-Texas Family Outreach, Spanish Meadows, Brownsville Wellness Coalition, and Brownsville Farmers’ Market, among many others. The event is organized by the MYLs as an exercise that recognizes we all have unique gifts and talents to share with the wider community.
The Gratitude Prayer Service is held during a lunch close to the Thanksgiving holidays to help students acknowledge all the blessings in their lives. It also brings awareness to the needs of others which have not been met. Students are invited to share what they are grateful for on a post-it note and display it on a board for others to read. The experience brings a communal sense of God’s generous goodness and blessings in our lives.
The Snack Pack Program immediately follows Thanksgiving, for the United Way BISD Snack Pack program. Sometimes, the joy of being off for winter break often is tempered by the knowledge there might not be enough to eat at home. Donations of cereal, fruit cups, peanut butter, and many other food items were collected by grade in order to provide for other children who depend on their school cafeteria for morning and noon meals. Marist Youth Leaders, along with NJHS members, organized the items to be collected by grade level and then sorted and packed up the items to make “Snack Packs.” Overall, the SJA community collected enough healthy, child-friendly food to meet our goal of 150 snack packs!