As 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 (CSC) and NFAPA Outreach endeavors. 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.
In recent years, outreach projects have included:
- Twice a year families collect and package breakfast bags for DeSales Service Works as part of the Aid to Neighbors program
- Raising funds through student initiated projects to support the relief efforts for natural disasters through Catholic Relief Services
- Gift-giving programs for Guadalupe Family Services in Camden NJ during the Christmas season
- Operation Rice Bowl through Catholic Relief Services during Lent
- Support for individual NFA families experiencing death, illness or crisis through meals prepared by NFA families etc.
Our students are taught that helping others is responding to God’s call to love one’s “dear” 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: by extending oneself to others, one risks to treasure them and to learn from them.