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Save the Date Circle ImageOn May 6th, 2014, San Antonio will come together for 24 hours of nonprofit giving during The Big Give SA

Blessed Sacrament Academy is joining more than 350 San Antonio nonprofits for “one big day of giving” and one incredible chance to support the vital programs at Blessed Sacrament Academy and shape San Antonio’s future.

It’s San Antonio’s first ever giving day, and it’s your chance to make a real impact, as part of our BSA family and your community.

All you have to do is commit to donating to Blessed Sacrament Academy on May 6th through the Big Give SA website: http://www.thebiggivesa.org/ and you help us become eligible for prize money and matching dollar opportunities.

big give logo

Blessed Sacrament Academy has been helping build community on San Antonio’s Southside since 1926.  We have survived times which tested us.  Our IWBS Sister Group has been the bedrock of  this success.

Today our Mission states:  We offer meaningful and child-centered education in a safe and respectful environment to  children,  youth and parents who are on the verge of falling through established safety nets in our society.  We teach fragile families a better normal for their children.  Our pervading message is that they too are worthy and capable of becoming the persons who, in turn, offer a compassionate and challenging hand to others in need.

Corporations, Foundations, Friends and Family joined us in the mid-1980s to restructure and have added the solidity we need.  Today we offer you the opportunity to join this sturdy and steadfast group of people who are able and willing to walk with us as we care for and educate our children and youth and build strong families in which they can thrive.

When you donate online on May 6th, you support the current programs at Blessed Sacrament Academy.
Child Development Center
Parents’ Academy
Por Vida High School

Your generosity will reward your own life as you move along the path you have taken.
Thank you.  God bless you.

Sister Odilia Korenek, Executive Director

 

CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER

Child Development Center Enrollment Initiative's Easter Bunny

Child Development Center Enrollment Initiative’s Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny (EB) arrived well in time for our National Child Abuse Prevention Month Easter Egg Day with BSA which will be held on April 12, 2014. EB holds our Enrollment Initiative flyer and is already spreading the word about our Child Development Center (CDC) Enrollment Initiative as he travels the internet airwaves. The EB suit arrived in a tightly packed box today — courtesy of Rosemary Kowalski. We’ve invited her as the EB Madrina to attend our Easter Egg Day along with our District 3 Councilwoman, a CPS representative and volunteers from Voices for Children.

EB does have, out of view, cute fuzzy feet. And, he will be appropriately named by the children, we have no doubt. The BSA Child Development Center and Parents’ Academy are busily working on the Enrollment Initiative which includes a Child Abuse Prevention and Easter Egg Hunt component.

TEXAS SCHOOL READY PROJECT

Blanca, CDC teacher of a group of Pre-School 1 children, has been selected to be filmed conducting short lessons in key areas of instruction to include:

  • Whole group read aloud
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Math instruction

Texas School Ready plans to use the videos to train teachers in the state and beyond. The filming will be done by a BSA staff member which lessens the stress a bit! And, Blanca gets to keep the video camera and accessories. What an opportunity! Thanks, Blanca.

RODEO WEEK
A petting zoo will make a guest appearance at our campus giving the little ones exciting opportunities to meet select animals face to face. In addition each class will invite another class to visit them for song, dance or other activities during Rodeo Week.

VALENTINES DAY …. Is called Friendship Day at BSA. It provides an opportunity for teachers to strengthen their focus on teaching children to be kind, to use gentle touches with each other and to treat each other in a caring way. We are grateful for this example of caring conduct from our children and their teachers.

From Katherine Lozano, Director of the Parent’s Academy at Blessed Sacrament Academy

2013 Parent’s Academy classes were recently completed with a total of 190 graduates from Precious Minds New Connections and 120 graduates of Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. We served over 350 parents and about 500 children this year in our evening parent education programs. Just a short break for the holidays and the 2014 classes will reach even more families…..

Parents at a recent class.

Parents at a recent class.

This last cycle of classes uncovered a number of families in crisis. Three families we served were living in shelters. Three other parents were incarcerated after the course began – all three of them were moms. The dads have been coming to class and participating as Parents’ Academy becomes an even more important part of their service plan and one time a week they can make a positive connection with others. Two other moms had to drop out when they were assigned to enter rehab for substance abuse. Hearing the stories of the families we serve often brings sadness, a sigh and prayers, prayers, prayers for their strength and healing. We pray that their time with us will be a bright spot in their journey to strengthen, and at times, re-build their families.

Helping parents become better families.

Helping parents become better families.

There is much joy in this work as we help families connect with each other and learn together. Knowing that the relationships we are building with them lifts their spirits and gives them hope is of great encouragement. Yes, it is important work and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve in this corner of God’s kingdom.

Katherine Lozano, Director

By Sister Odilia Korenek, CEO

“At first it seems odd to take notes on our own thoughts and words. We have a strange conceit that just because we have thought or said something, we understand what it means!” So wrote Parker Palmer in his book A Hidden Wholeness. In fact, he says that the inner teacher who lives in each of us says that if we don’t record them, later we may well misinterpret, forget or even deny our own thoughts as life continues to flow over us.

I’m finding this to be my dilemma now as I am tasked with writing an update of BSA’s past year. As I sit in the doldrums of my mind, I realize that, at least, I have my calendar to remind me of our past year. So I turn back to December 2012, only to be reminded that as I was leaving Victoria back then, I placed my large 6 year calendar on the hood of the truck before I took off for San Antonio. I left the city limits of Victoria and was buzzing along toward Goliad engrossed in listening to an audio book I had selected the week before at our Mission Library in San Antonio. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I began to see sheets of paper flying. In the rearview mirror I saw the car behind me run over and crunch my beloved calendar. To the left of me I saw said calendar flying sheet by sheet over the fence into a pasture recently vacated of cattle. I pulled over, ran into the road to retrieve the spine of my calendar and then darted over the other lane, climbed through the fence and began collecting the loose pages which held the record of 6 years of my past and future.

Now as I position myself to review the past year, I’m wondering how inspirational calendar tidbits can be? I read: Probation to rake leaves, call Patsy Torres, send in Birdies pledges, Corporate Board meeting at 10:00 am, send bills to Venturity for payment, Christmas breakfast for staff at 7:00 am, Faith Sharing, CDC Christmas party, etc. Still wondering, I thank God for these tidbits and turn the page to 2013.

The richness of life lived on our campus continues to greet me. For instance, the Cultural Friendship Exchange Program reminds me of the bus which shows up each month. One month it comes empty and picks up our K4’s and transports them to the Jewish Family Service headquarters where the children from BSA, JCC and from the Carmelite child care center interact – learning about Hanukkah, singing the dreidel song, sharing foods like latke. On alternating months the bus shows up at BSA with JCC children and we host some of our diversity. For instance, on Cinco de Mayo the children make corn tortillas together. The year unfolds with special days determining the shared learning. Teachers from these centers attend a yearly Diversity Training Conference to help them implement diversity in their classrooms. This experience and training makes a huge difference in how our children will treat others who are different from them in ways their minds don’t understand yet. Their hearts are being primed to be inclusive, caring, empathic. Thus, respectful and responsible behaviors are more likely to follow as they grow into adulthood.

Meet our on-site IWBS Partners in Mission Front Row:  Sister Odilia Korenek,  Blessed Sacrament Executive Director           Carol Silva,  BSA Child Development Center Director Back Row:     Kathy Lozano,  BSA Parents’ Academy Director            Joseph Rendon,  Por Vida Academy Principal,  PVI Superintendent           Sister Stephanie Marie Martinez,  Executive Assistant & Alumnae Coordinator

Meet our on-site IWBS Partners in Mission
Front Row: Sister Odilia Korenek, Blessed Sacrament Executive Director Carol Silva, BSA Child Development Center Director Back Row: Kathy Lozano, BSA Parents’ Academy Director Joseph Rendon, Por Vida Academy Principal, PVI Superintendent Sister Stephanie Marie Martinez, Executive Assistant & Alumnae Coordinator

On another level, the Mission Road Collaborative pulls together the groups in our neighborhood whose mission is to provide strong supportive services and a caring environment for children who do not experience this consistently in their families. Blessed Sacrament Academy Child Development Center, Parents’ Academy, Seton Home, Jewish Family Service, Por Vida Academy, St. Peter St. Joseph Home meet 8 times a year to share ideas, programs and look for ways of collaborating among our agencies. We share workshops, pertinent information regarding the clientele we serve, possible solutions to situations confronting us and just some strong good-will along our Corridor of Care. In October of each year we celebrate Neighborhood night out, drawing together the community with music, food, notices of available services in our area and a giant rummage sale. The front of BSA is full of the neighborhood. “I like this better than Fiesta,” one of these neighbors said. When asked why, he responded simply, “there is no fighting.” It’s sort of sad and absolutely wonderful at the same time.

Our strong parenting program continues to draw significant funding from the Kronkosky Foundation for Precious Minds New Connections which offers training for parents and foster parents of families who have 0-3 year old children in their care.

Parents’ Academy extends training to families who care for children aged 4 years through teens. Year after year Parents’ Academy continues to support parents and guardians in their huge task of raising healthy children in an increasingly healthy family. Both programs offer an evening meal and child care so that parents can relax into learning at least one night a week.

Our outstanding Child Development Center is looking for ways to increase enrollment. San Antonio’s K4 Initiative has impinged a bit on our attendance as has a slower economy. We are grateful to those who partner with us in this ministry which strives to make it unnecessary for children, teens and families to fall through the protective nets of society. As the waiting list at Haven for Hope grows, we are being asked to enroll the children of parents who have no steady place to live. Wondering if anyone reading this has some idea of how to bring this to reality? We have the clothing issue covered. Funding is another thing entirely.

I check my calendar for another dose of inspiration. “We are the body of Christ” my calendar reminds me. The topic of our May 2013 retreat startles me as I recognize how fitting this understanding is at this juncture of thought and time. I add a prayer of gratitude for Valero Energy, Corp., the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament and many other donors who keep us flush with ministry as God continues to invite us to build the reign of God in this world.

Despite some financial hits, Por Vida Academy continues to be faithful to the students who call forth the courage and compassion of their teachers. Graduations in our two Corpus Christi campuses and one San Antonio campus continue to give opportunity to young people who had gotten off track. Once they see the path, they make some pretty steady progress. The rite of transition curriculum takes students through a 10 part curriculum in a well-defined movement from aimlessness and destruction to hope and confidence. Joven Noble (Noble Youth) for young men and Xinachtli (germinating seed) for young women is turning our students toward the path of hope, respect and responsibility. It’s easy to spot these young people on our campus these days.

PVA is working toward having Bingo and a couple of other fundraisers to make it possible for us to retain the staff needed for a variety of specialized programs and classes. One of these activities is teaching academics using the Ropes Course. PVA has had success in the Math area using the Ropes concept.

As I round out the calendar year, my attention is called to a statement at the top of the November pages. It says “God, grant me the courage to face my strength.” It came from one of our Directors during our weekly Prayer Circle. It meets me face to face with its challenge. It reminds me that walking away from God’s strength in me is a great disservice to those we serve, to ourselves and to God even – who waits as a beggar for us to say yes to his invitation to serve. God hands out big dollops of strength and love. It’s up to us to reach out and take the whole offering and use it as we walk in service among each other each day.

Blessings for a coming year of new insights, of courage and of walking in strength.

The Mission Road Collaborative joined to prepare and celebrate Neighborhood Night Out on Oct. 1, 2013. “I enjoy this more than Fiesta”, Jose confided. Why? “There is no fighting.”

natl night out

Zumba class on the green spot

 

What WAS there included: hotdogs, sno-cones, rummage riot, HIV testing, San Antonio Food Bank, International Art and Designs, HallMark College, Affordable Health Care, apples, oranges and other snacks, freeze dancing, musical chairs, face painting and various mascots. Carter the Recycling Dumpster, H-E-Buddy, Tex the Shelter in Place Turtle , McGruff the Crime Dog, and surprise neighborhood gorilla showed up.

firetruck

Our newly elected District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, Constable Ruben Tejeda, EMS and the Fire Department mingled with the neighborhood residents. A couple of police showed up during the second half. I came upon a mother taking a picture of her son in the back seat of the police car. She was asking the policeman to step aside so her younger son could sit in the driver’s seat. I image there is a lesson embedded in that picture!

We met neighbors we didn’t know we had. Their richness of spirit outshines the poverty of their little homes. That’s how I ran into gorilla man. Could he please go home and come back dressed as a gorilla? Welll…. “As long as you don’t purposely scare the children”, we agreed after his sister and his father vouched for him! He tried to be friendly and most enjoyed him. Of course, there were still a few who would have nothing to do with him!

Another neighbor summarized our Neighborhood Night Out beautifully, “I love it here,” she volunteered with her radiant smile – minus her front teeth. God shone out wonderfully from her sparkly eyes.

The BlessedValero logo Sacrament Academy Child Development Center and Parents’ Academy have joined hands in creating fundraisers to bring in dollars for Birdies of Charity.

A silent auction on Valentine’s Day added excitement to that already beautiful day. The greatest victory was when David got out-bid for a plate of cookies. He maintains the floors and so passes that part of the Child Care many times a day. He was keeping a lead until some sharp teacher screeched in right before closing of Auction at 3:00 pm and bumped him off. The double-headed coin of rejoicing and sadness was fully experienced!Birdies _sa

Saturday brings a rummage sale, the next week another Lotteria and finally a fish fry. Funds gained at these events are placed into the Birdies for Charity fund, sent to Valero for calculation and returned to the non-profit after the golf tournament. Incentive bonus bucks are given to non-profits who reach certain goals throughout the process, beginning with October of the previous year. To donate on-line go to www.valerotexasopen.org Your contributions will have a triple blessing — honoring you, helping children and young people have a better chance at living a productive life, thus blessing the community. Thank you for sending good into our earth through your generosity.

Cafeteria name goes up under a brilliant sky:

St JosephsSt. Joseph Dining & Assembly Hall

St. Joseph is the main man when it comes to building – both funds and construction! He kept Mary and Jesus safe and in good health in the growing-up years of their earthly sojourn. And we look to him for the same.

Sister Odilia Korenek, Exec. Director

February 8, 2013

Good morning, angels of the highways and byways,

Asking if you have contacts who might be interested in dressing up some of our Por VIda students:

· Young Gentlemen’s Club is looking for suits for their Joven Noble guys. They sell nachos and soft drinks daily and have purchased some 6 suits. These are encouraged to wear suits on Wednesdays. It’s quite startling to seem them in their suits.   And their behaviors are also quite different. Looking for good used suits. If you know of anyone who has a suite hanging unused in their closets, tell them to bring them on down!

· Young Ladies Club is looking for prom dresses for their April prom and for a ballroom dance activity.

· Looking for tennis shoes high school girls who have been walking and bike riding in their flip-flops.

· Looking for socks to wear with the tennis shoes.

I will get sizes, etc. However, basically anything which would fit a high school student will work. The two tallest basketball players have their suits as they are daily helpers at the nacho sales, so that takes care of the tall situation.

Here are the sizes:

Girls – dress sizes 2 -18

Girls tennis shoe/socks size – 5 to 9 ½

Boys suits – small to x large

Thanks for being our connection to anyone who would like to respond to a need such as this.

Blessings,

Sr. Odilia Korenek

Blessed Sacrament Academy

1135 Mission Road

San Antonio, Texas 78210

210-532-4731

210-534-2882 fax

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