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’ begins its third year

the Inland Register

(From the July 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Students participating in the “Summer is for Service and Fitness” program at Cataldo School, Spokane, spent some time serving lunch at the House of Charity, Catholic Charities Spokane’s ministry to the homeless of downtown Spokane. (IR photo courtesy of Catholic Charities)

Tuesday, July 5, marked the beginning of another year of “Summer is for Service and Fitness” for junior high students of Cataldo School, Spokane.

The program is organized and led by Janet Maucione, a Cataldo parent and teacher, with the assistance of Mitch Weller, Cataldo Physical Education teacher, and parent drivers. Catholic Charities oversees “Summer is for Service” out of their volunteer coordination office, and this year it is funded by sponsors Providence Healthcare, Wheatland Bank, and SDS Realty.

The six-week program gives participants the chance to serve their community while having fun with friends. Students gather on Tuesdays and Thursdays from approximately 9 a.m.-noon and venture out to volunteer at many local organizations. On Wednesdays, they either have an educational class or partake in an entertaining physical activity.

This year kicked off with a summer reorganization project at Cataldo School itself, including the challenging task of moving an entire small library of books up many flights of stairs. The following day they played tennis in the park as part of the program’s initiative to encourage healthy lifestyles.

The week concluded at the House of Charity, where they assisted in preparation of the lunchtime meal and served it to the patrons. All of the students were on their best behavior and very friendly in the lunch line. Afterwards, they enjoyed their meal outside and took a tour of the House of Charity led by Jeff, a Jesuit Volunteer, who explained the different services offered (other than meals) and the rules that patrons must follow in order to be at the House of Charity.

Of the 10 who participated in the first week, seven students had returned from previous years – a great sign they truly enjoy themselves – and three were new to the program. When asked if they were enjoying the program so far, they nodded their heads enthusiastically.

“I marvel at how much the kids get out of serving others. We have already had nice conversations in the car about how God asks us to care for those in need, and we surely did that this week,” said Maucione.

In weeks to come, the students will visit 2nd Harvest, St. Margaret’s Shelter, Salvation Army, Project Hope, and many other sites. They will go to a Wheatland Bank “money camp,” take a hike in Riverside State Park, learn about good nutrition, and work on their bowling skills.

The weeks provide an excellent balance of learning, service, and enjoyment. A parent of a regular attendee recently commented, “Students willingly and joyfully participate. That is the essential thing to note! Each day, they seem to more fully understand it is in giving that we receive. It is a blessing to witness.”

Catholic Charities is proud to be affiliated with this program that embodies important elements of Catholic social teaching.

Thanks are due to Janet Maucione, her team of helpers, the sponsors, and all the families involved.

(For more information about the program, email

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