A sponsored work of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (SSJ’s), Norwood-Fontbonne Academy outreach programs are influenced by the mission of the SSJ’s. Reaching out to others and living in unity with the “dear neighbor” are central to this mission. The Outreach Programs at NFA enable students and their families to connect in relationship with their neighbors in need in diverse settings and locations.
At NFA, students are encouraged to offer something of themselves to others. Creative opportunities for collections, projects, and prayer are available throughout the year. Many of these opportunities are the same from year to year, building upon the relationships the students and school community have formed with different “neighbors” through the Service Learning Program, Community Service Corps and NFAPA Outreach Committee. Each year new opportunities are presented based upon the specific needs of others.
Outreach projects often involve students and their families in the collection of food, books, money, and gifts. Some of these projects entail the preparation of meals for families in crisis and holiday feasts for low-income families. Often our students also create greeting cards and provide companionship when delivering food, gifts and meals to others.
Our students are taught that helping others is responding to God’s call to love one’s neighbor. They are living the NFA vision to treasure others. We encourage our students to offer prayers, compassion, understanding, and smiles to those in need for these are their greatest gifts. Through all of the Outreach Projects, the message our students hear is simple – by extending oneself to others one risks to treasure them and to learn from them. In recent years, outreach projects have included:
- Collecting, assembling, and decorating Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets for families in the St. Hugh of Cluny parish
- Twice a year families collect and package breakfast bags for St. Francis Inn as part of the Aid to Friends program
- Raising funds through student initiated projects to support the relief efforts for the earthquake victims in Haiti through Catholic Relief Services
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Prayer service and work day. Some years this included assembling “hygiene bags” (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc.) while other years, it involved making greeting cards and preparing sandwiches for St. John’s Hospice
- Gift-giving programs for Guadalupe Family Services in Camden NJ during the Christmas season
- Operation Rice Bowl through Catholic Relief Services during Lent
- Book collections to support Reach Out and Read for patients of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Support for individual NFA families experiencing death, illness or crisis through meals prepared by NFA families etc.