Special to The Record
On the first day of school this year — August 14 for students at St. Raphael — classes at the Lancashire Avenue school attended its first “Stewardship Fair.”
According to Susan Buckmaster, the school’s counselor and coordinator of the “Stewardship Fair,” students in grades two to eight visited with representatives of nearly two dozen local service agencies who explained their missions and how they go about helping people in the community.
Buckmaster, in an email message to The Record, noted that kindergarten and first grade classes at St. Raphael will also have yearlong stewardship programs — though they didn’t attend the fair.
The idea behind the event, she said, was not only to provide each class with information about the service agencies, but to allow them an opportunity to discuss the various missions they learned about and to decide what their class would like to commit to for its stewardship project this year.
In other words, the students at St. Raphael School began thinking and working about stewardship from the very beginning of the school year.
“Students visited the different agencies and learned about the various causes and populations that each agency serves,” Buckmaster said in the email. “Afterwards, each class went back to their room and discussed what they learned and chose the top three agencies they would like to partner with for their stewardship project.
“Not every class got their top choice because we wanted to make sure that every agency was adopted,” she said.
Stewardship projects at St. Raphael this year will also include a “focus project,” such as bringing canned goods for the Dare to Care Food Bank or working to clean up a neighborhood with the city government’s Operation Brightside. There will also be speakers, field trips and classroom assignments related to the various agencies and causes chosen by the classes, Buckmaster said.
“Kalen Alvey, a social work intern from the University of Louisville will track the hours and items donated so that we can see at the end of the year what our service to the community looked like,” Buckmaster added.
The agencies that took part in this year’s “Stewardship Fair” were:
Americana Community Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Blanket Louisville, Operation Brightside, Catholic Relief Services, Dare to Care, Free the Children and Habitat for Humanity.
Also, Heifer International, the Home of the Innocents, Kosair Children’s Hospital, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Raptor Rehab, Samaritan’s Purse, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Supplies Overseas, the Arrow Fund, Water Step and Family Scholar House.