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Diocesan elementary schools extend a hand to those in need

By AMY PARTAIN
12/17/2021 | Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS. Students at the Unified Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Colorado Springs practice service throughout the year, but each holiday season, special projects help them focus on giving rather than receiving.

Each Christmas season, Divine Redeemer School helps families in need at James Monroe Elementary School. This year, students are collecting hats, coats and mittens for these families. Principal Kari Smith said service projects are a part of Divine Redeemer’s mission as a Catholic school.

“Our students need to be immersed in the mission of working for the good of others and seeing their role in helping with the greater good,” Smith said. “The Monroe community is dear to our hearts; many of the families are connected in some way to DR or St. Mary’s, which makes our work with them even more special.”

Smith said that DR annually sponsors an “extreme service project,” usually during Lent. In the past, the project has included soup collection, building compassion kits for the homeless and assembling toiletry bags for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado.

Ave Maria School in Parker held a toy drive in honor of the Feast of St. Nicholas that collected 335 gifts. The toys were donated to the Denver Santa Claus shop for children in need.

Similarly, all students at Corpus Christi School participate in school-wide service projects, but this year the eighth-graders embarked on a year-long study of service and prayer. As part of their classical curriculum, the class is working on “Unum Corpus Opus: Ora et Labora,” which is a year-long project involving prayer and work. The curriculum requires the students to serve and journal about their experiences, concluding with presentations in May.

Principal Anneliese Degenhart said that after learning about pro-life efforts in October, the eighth-graders decided to sponsor a baby clothing drive to benefit a local pregnancy center.

Past school-wide service projects at Corpus Christi have included working with Heifer International and collecting food for area food banks. Degenhart said that the school is planning another project for the spring semester.

“To be servants, we must humble ourselves,” Degenhart said. “Serving others gives us a chance to be the hands and feet of Christ.”


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