Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Summer is for service (and fitness), with help from dedicated friends

the Inland Register

(From the August 20, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Students packaged food at Second Harvest Food Bank as one of their summer service opportunities. (IR photo courtesy of Janet Maucione)

Now completing its second highly successful year, the “Summer is for Service” youth program has helped change the lives of a number of young people by providing service learning experiences and opportunities to learn various life skills and life sports. The program is funded by a grant from Providence Health Care and sponsored by Catholic Charities of Spokane.

Developed and implemented by Cataldo School teacher Janet Maucione with the assistance of fellow Cataldo teacher Mitch Weller and a host of adult volunteers, this innovative program is aimed at students grades 6-8 from Sacred Heart Parish, St. Augustine Parish, and Cataldo School. This year, the program ran for eight weeks, from June 22-Aug. 13.

The concept is simple: provide youth the opportunity to become “people for others” while also developing critical life skills and promoting a healthy lifestyle through fitness and nutrition sessions.

The young men and women who participated provided important assistance at many local organizations. For example, they helped senior citizens at Emilie Court, gardened at the Catholic Charities Food For All Farm, packaged foods at Second Harvest Food Bank, volunteered in various capacities at St. Margaret’s Shelter and St. Anne’s Children’s Center, assisted with animal care activities at SCRAPS, and prepared and served lunch at the House of Charity. As they volunteered in these meaningful community services they developed a heightened sense of civic engagement and social justice.

The volunteer/service component was accompanied by life skills mini-workshops, such as a babysitting class, taught by Taryn Weller; First Aid and CPR, taught by Tony Maucione, Gonzaga Prep teacher and certified American Red Cross instructor; Money Skills, taught by professionals from Spokane Teachers Credit Union, and Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle choices, taught by experts from WSU’s “Food Sense.”

Wednesdays were devoted to promoting fitness and overcoming the sedentary lifestyle that has become a serious problem for increasing numbers of young people. Physical Education instructor Mitch Weller directed activities such as kickball and “capture the flag” games at local parks. Participants also were introduced to life sports such as golf, instructed by the golf pro at Esmeralda Golf Course; bowling at North Bowl; and cycling – the group biked the Fish Lake bike trail. The summer concluded with an energetic and fun session at the trampoline park in NorthTown Mall.

The young people who participated in this program made a difference in the lives of many they served. They also learned a great deal about themselves – something that is important to everyone, but especially for young adults who are just starting to question where they belong and what is important in life.

Thanks to all of the parents and adult volunteers who provided transportation, additional adult supervision and who really made this all possible. Gonzaga Prep students Josh and Nate Condon were outstanding activity leaders as well. Special thanks go out to Rene Campagna, a Cataldo parent and the program’s liaison to Providence Health Care, and to Ann Marie Byrd and Brigid Krause at Catholic Charities.

“Fitness for Life” was emphasized by exposing students to a variety of physical activities, including bowling. (IR photo courtesy of Janet Maucione)

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