Last month, Episcopal Homes elders hopped on the bus and ventured east on University Avenue to AGAPE High School. AGAPE High School offers a secondary educational program to teens who are pregnant and/or parenting. This small learning community offers numerous courses, as well as intervention services to help students address other barriers to educational success. AGAPE hosts a quarterly award ceremony honoring the exemplary performance of students, including honor roll and most improved students. Elders wanted to help honor their hard work and dedication by hosting a luncheon during the awards ceremony.
Planning their visit, Episcopal Homes elders decided to do a little more than serve a delicious meal. They decided to gather a donation of 95 dress scarves, one for every student, and collected donations for the family of an AGAPE alum, whose life was tragically taken earlier this spring. Julie Niewald, Director of Life+ Wellness at Episcopal Homes said, “We were tickled to see the young women enjoying the scarves, wrapping them beautifully into head pieces…Elders commented on how hard it must be to have a baby, considering challenging home lives on top of struggles to get good grades, and how seemingly-simple matters like getting to school can sometimes be an obstacle. Many of the elders recalled their own troubles as young mothers, and felt relieved to know there’s a safe place like AGAPE. We admire these young student mothers.”
AGAPE Administrator, Lois Vosika-Weir reflected on the event, “It was fabulous. I have heard such wonderful things from students and staff. Everyone was so happy to have the elders here. The girls loved having the women as guests and appreciated so much the gifts of food and the scarves. It was everything and much more than was expected. I know none of us could have predicted how wonderful it turned out for us.”
AGAPE mission and vision: “…AGAPE does not accept that on average only 50% of parenting students obtain a high school diploma or that only 2% of teen moms complete a 2 year degree by the age of 30 years old. Our vision is to ensure all our students have the opportunity to earn their high school degree or equivalent, and that every graduate is prepared for a post secondary education or training.”
Episcopal Homes has also supported students at AGAPE [and neighboring community organizations like Hallie Q. Brown] through holiday clothing and toy drives. In 2016, elders, families and staff gathered over $2,000 in donations for AGAPE students and children. We think you’re doing amazing work, AGAPE, and we are thrilled to help support your efforts. If you’d like to support AGAPE, consider making a donation HERE. You may also donate to support programming like Life+ Wellness and Spiritual Life Programming through the Episcopal Homes Foundation HERE.