By Barbara Williams, Community Engagement Core Group Member
In the spring of 2016 the leadership of Blessed Sacrament Academy determined that it would be helpful to organize a group of community volunteers who would be involved in helping “tell the story” of the ministries honoring our Lord and carried out by staff members of the Blessed Sacrament family. They became known as the Community Engagement Core Group.
Its community representatives include: Judy Mangelberger of Valero Energy Corporation; Judi DeLeon, a community event planner and a grandparent of a child served by the Child Development Center; Marie Schmutz of the Assistance League of San Antonio; Bert Pfiester, recently retired Executive Director of Respite Care, a non-profit volunteer, and a graduate of BSA’s Parents’ Academy, and Barbara Williams, a community volunteer with several non-profit organizations. In addition, BSA staff members participating in the group led by Sister Odilia Korenek are Sister Stephanie Marie Martinez, Carol Silva, Isai Melgoza, Kathy Lozano and Laura Carter.
As the group meets, its purpose is to create an awareness in San Antonio of the beautiful work done so lovingly at Blessed Sacrament through the Child Development Center, Parents’ Academy and Por Vida Academy Charter High School. We don’t want to be “the best kept secret in San Antonio”, but instead, we want to share the good news of the amazing ministries offered here.
In addition, another of our goals is to connect with the community in garnering additional financial support for the programs offered here. Because BSA must raise most of its operating budget (excepting Por Vida) from donors, we are hoping to be able to share our story to potential supporters who will feel that our work is an excellent investment in the future by making life better for children, youth and their parents who are trying their best to do well.
We are currently hoping to secure funding for several projects that are in need of attention. There are four heating/air conditioning units that need replacing in the Child Development Center cafeteria. A Go Fund Me Account has been established for that purpose.
Since its founding, the Core Group has been involved in helping in a number of ways. Our first opportunity to be engaged in BSA work was helping with Sister Stephanie Marie Martinez’s “Big Birthday Bash” in April. What a joy-filled occasion it was honoring a very special person!
Following that wonderful opportunity to express love for Sister Stephanie, we went to work on the 90th birthday celebration for BSA’s gift to the residents of the city of San Antonio. Held in September, alumni and friends of BSA gathered to say “thank you” for the blessings of 90 years of the Lord’s work being done in our community. We were grateful for the generosity of Rosemary Kowalski in serving a delicious box lunch and to so many who participated in making this a day of thanksgiving and celebration!
Led by Judi DeLeon, BooFest SA in October was a labor of love for many and a wonderful success. Funds were raised for the Child Development Center, and a great time was had by participants and volunteers alike.
Another aspect of our involvement has been to link with businesses and nonprofits whose staffs and families have offered help in support of BSA’s events and programs. Amazing volunteers from Valero Energy Corporation have generously given of their time and talents in helping with events, and recently, the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind Children’s Division has become a community partner.
At one of their family events for visually impaired children, families donated art supplies as their community service project, and those supplies were given to BSA’s Child Development Center. They also donated 150 Snack Packs with food items, as well as hygiene products that were given to Por Vida High School students. How grateful we are for their generosity! We hope to be able to engage other businesses and non-profit groups in the future.
In addition, the emergency fund for the Child Development Center is in need of replenishing. Families who have dire circumstances arise that prevent them from being able to meet their obligations for childcare can request some assistance in getting them through the difficult times. The emergency fund is that source, so we hope you will help us spread the word about the current needs that we have.
We are grateful to God for people who serve Him and honor Him with their lives. The staff members of Blessed Sacrament do just that so beautifully. We hope you will help our Core Group share the good news of the ministries being carried out and endeavor to support BSA with your time, talents, resources, and most of all, your prayers. God bless you.