“It was very edifying to see how this program has given our young people a sense of mission and a greater understanding of their faith and the social gospel,” Cardinal O’Malley wrote in his blog following the meeting.
Students who are members of the Austin Scholars program volunteer for two hours of service each week during the school year at one of 10 not-for-profit organizations. The volunteer work puts their lessons on Catholic social teaching into practical application, said Sister Jeanne Gribaudo, CSJ, the program director. Social teaching on human dignity and the common good includes principles on caring for the poor and vulnerable, and caring for the Earth.
The program’s immersion into the non-profit organizations helps the students build incredible bonds and relationships while developing a deep understanding of the issues facing the non-profit organizations, she said.
“The thing that is different about Austin Scholars is that it lasts more than a semester,” Sister Jeanne said. “Some of the students have volunteered for two years.”