WASHINGTON (July 29, 1999) -- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has launched an initiative to educate young people about the principles of Catholic social teaching and involve them in the work of CCHD diocesan offices and local community-based groups funded by the Campaign.
Ms. Alicia Bondanella, who worked previously in the diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, will implement this initiative aimed at reaching out to young Catholics throughout the country. Ms. Bondanella has been named CCHD's Youth and Young Adult Coordinator.
Over the next two years, working closely with CCHD's education staff, she will develop and implement outreach programs to Catholic young people, to more effectively educate youth and young adults about the Catholic social justice tradition, and to engage them more fully in CCHD's mission. Two major projects of the initiative are an internship placement program in cooperation with diocesan CCHD offices, CCHD-funded projects and other national Catholic groupsBand establishing CCHD chapters on college campuses across the country.
A grant to CCHD from the Koch Foundation and a grant from the Raskob Foundation to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) will support the youth initiative. The ACCU is collaborating with CCHD on these projects.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the Bishops' domestic anti-poverty social justice agency. Father Robert J. Vitillo is Executive Director.
"I am enthusiastic about CCHD's Youth Initiative which we have developed in response to the encouragement of our Holy Father and the Bishops of this country to involve young people more fully in the life and work of our Church," Father Vitillo said. "Its tradition of social justice could offer much challenge and fulfillment to the lives of young people. Ms. Bondanella brings to the Campaign a solid background in Catholic social teaching and experience with youth."
Before coming to CCHD, Ms. Bondanella taught religion at Catholic High School in Charlotte. A graduate of the University of San Francisco, she has been an advisor to the Diocesan Youth Council of the Diocese of Charlotte and served as the Pastoral Assistant for Youth Ministry at St. Andrew parish in Sumner, Washington. While at the University of San Francisco, she was an intern for campus ministry.
"I am interested in how to impact and motivate youth to change their lives and to recognize the difference they can make in our church, our community, and our world," Ms. Bondanella said. "I would hope that through programs like CCHD, the energy and focus of youth today would be redirected for the common good. I appreciate this opportunity to advocate more fully for peace and justice through the giftedness of youth and young adults."
CCHD has also received a grant from another foundation to cover the cost of stipends for low-income youth to work at CCHD projects this summer. So far, four low-income young people are working in CCHD-funded projects and diocesan offices.
Alonda Scott is in the Diocese of Des Moines working with Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI). Ms. Scott is a member of Youth Working for Positive Change and has experience in many volunteer and community service opportunities in the diocese. She is considering a career as a community organizer.
Norman Brisco, Jr. is working in the Archdiocese of New Orleans with the funded group All Congregations Together (ACT). Mr. Brisco has worked with the youth branch of ACT on issues of inner-city crime, recreation and education. He is a student at St. Michael's College in Vermont.
Winston Lloyd Sharpe is in the Diocese of Charlotte working with two local CCHD grantee organizations, Partner in Hope and the Community Kitchen of Charlotte.
Mr. Sharpe is a student at Belmont Abbey College and has been a mentor for African-American teenagers through the Tornadoes program and has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity.
Celia Gore, a college student in the Archdiocese of Miami, will work with Catholic Charities in their outreach to new immigrants. An immigrant to this country herself, Ms. Gore looks forward to giving back the support she received from the Church.
"I am pleased that we are able to support low-income interns in social justice work," Father Vitillo stated. "This is an experience that they might have missed because of the economic challenges which they face during their years as students."
With its Youth Initiative, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development continues to build on its strong history of work with and for our nation's young people. Last year, CCHD gave its first Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award to celebrate and encourage young people who put the Church's social teaching into action. The 1999 award will be presented November 14 at the bishops' general meeting in Washington, D.C.
In 1970, the U.S. bishops established the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to work toward the elimination of poverty and injustice in the United States. Since then, CCHD has awarded over $250 million in grants to more than 3,500 self-help projects throughout the country. It helps poor and low-income people work together to overcome poverty. CCHD projects help create jobs, provide affordable housing, ensure decent wages, improve schools, fight crime and develop leaders for the future. Its educational programs make known the tradition of Catholic social teaching and help build bridges between low and moderate income people.
For more information, contact Barbara Stephenson at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, 202-541-3364, and visit their web site at www.nccbuscc.org/cchd.