For the third year, GRACE’s Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLOG) Outreach Program was successfully presented to students and families from Father Allouez Catholic School, Holy Family Catholic School, St. Bernard Catholic School, and St. Thomas More Catholic School. A total of 172 children and adults from 56 families were involved and engaged in a series of workshops this past January through April.
Generously funded by Milwaukee’s Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the OLOG Outreach Program is meant to establish family activities and student programming to help both parents and students understand how to work together on issues of school engagement and academic success while fostering cultural integration. Dr. Jamie Tyrrell, principal of St. Thomas More Catholic School, describes the program this way: “From my perspective, the OLOG Outreach Program is designed with Hispanic families first. We want them to feel like an integral part of our Catholic school system.”
Ninety eight percent of the students who attend St. Thomas More are Spanish speakers, so the program was very beneficial to the school.
“Our staff helped plan the workshops and were presenters,” she said, “We had a large portion of our families attend.”
The OLOG Outreach Program achieves all of their goals in the context of empowering families through faith. The topics of this year’s workshops were Faith at Home, Internet Safety and Mental Health, Importance of Early Childhood Literacy and Preparing for High School and Higher Education. Presented primarily in Spanish, each two-hour session included a prayer, presenters speaking on workshop topics, interactive activities, take-home materials for families to use at home, and refreshments. The presence of vocations was evident as priests celebrated Mass and led prayer with Sisters affiliated with our parishes participating as well. Childcare was provided for younger siblings in order to allow students and their parents to attend. Organizations who contributed their time and talents included the Diocese of Green Bay’s Hispanic Ministry, the Green Bay Police Department, the YMCA, and Casa Alba.
In addition, teachers from participating schools provided their integral support at the workshops. The 2022-23 OLOG Outreach Program Team members were Alejandra Beals, Crystal Blahnik, Gabrielle Calewarts, Kim Desotell, Kay Franz, Dr. Jamie Froh Tyrrell, Jere Kubuske, Karlet Negrete, Lisa Niemuth, and Edgar Zaragoza. This team’s role is to plan the workshop topics and participate in the workshops as well as provide evaluation as to the program’s objectives.
Mrs. Blahnik shared, “Over the course of this year’s workshops, families and students have connected and become friends. This program has facilitated a very strong community of Spanish-speaking families who are engaged with their childrens’ education and equipped with tools to help them raise their children to their full potential.”
Through participation in the GRACE OLOG Outreach Program, families:
- Engage with other families in deepening personal and family faith life.
- Enhance personal knowledge of community resources for the health, safety and well-being of the family unit.
- Learn strategies for maximizing at-home support of student learning.
- Acquire knowledge of technology utilized at their child’s school and how to access key information pertaining to their child’s learning.
- Receive guidance in deciphering standardized test scores and learn how educators use this information to design instruction.
- Connect with GRACE school families to deepen the spirit of community and family friendships.
GRACE will again offer the OLOG Outreach Program during the 2023-24 school year in January through April. Information will be available during the Fall 2023 semester.
St. Thomas More Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually. To learn more about St. Thomas More, browse their website, stmoregb.com, or call the office at (920) 432-8242.