"Hope is your superpower. You will be able to see things that other people don't see. It is critical to your capacity to change the world."
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.
Events in the fall include helping with New Student Orientation, Cupcakes for Cancer, Marist Lock-In, Marist Day of Service, World Hunger Day collection and dance, Thankful Tuesday, and Snack Pack. This past year, we held our first Marist Lock-In.
Cupcakes for Cancer: Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, Marist Youth students wanted to get students and parents talking about preventing breast cancer. Cupcakes were made by students and sold during lunch, while cut-outs of cupcakes were featured on a wall with the names of those who are battling, had battled, or who survived cancer. Some students were able to urge their mothers to schedule their mammograms. All proceeds will be donated to Kelly Cares Foundation.
Our first annual Marist Lock-In was held this past year with the theme “Awaken Holy Fire.” It took place the evening before our annual Marist Day of Service, when our student 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 was a fun-filled evening consisting of team-building activities, group sharing, and prayer.
For Marist Day of Service, SJA students and faculty spend a Saturday serving the community at places like Moody Clinic, Brownsville Animal Shelter, Tip-o-Texas Family Outreach, Spanish Meadows, and Brownsville Farmers’ Market. The event is organized by the Marist Youth leaders in an attempt to recognize that we all have unique gifts and talents to share with the wider community.
Thankful Tuesday is held during lunch close to the Thanksgiving holidays to help students acknowledge all the blessings in their lives that they are thankful for. It also brings awareness to the needs of others which have not been met. Students write on a post-it note and display it on a board. Everyone is thankful for their family and friends, their education, and for the wonderful opportunities in their lives.
Snack Pack: 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, shelf stable milk, fruit cups, cereal bars, peanut butter, graham crackers, pudding cups, granola bars, canned tuna, pop tarts, cheese & crackers, juice boxes, whole wheat crackers and individually packaged nuts were collected in order to provide families who depend on the school cafeteria for morning and noon meals. SJA students, Marist Youth Leaders, and NJHS members collected healthy, child-friendly food for the United Way BISD Snack Pack program. This past year, they were able to meet their goal to collect 150 snack packs.
Spring projects include raising awareness for local and global issues on Social Justice Day and Operation Prom. Marist Youth's biggest event is Operation Prom, which is a national organization providing prom dresses for local students referred by high school counselors in our community. Every spring, St. Joseph Academy Marist Youth students launch the collection of dresses for their annual Operation Prom event to take place in April. This program provides dresses and tuxedos for students in the community who may need extra help making prom a magical night.