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HomeLocalCatholic EducationSeeds of Hope School Embraces Migrant Students

Seeds of Hope School Embraces Migrant Students

By Kara Schmahl
Seeds of Hope

Earlier this winter, migrant families traveling from Venezuela arrived in Denver unprepared for the cold weather and for Colorado to be their final destination. As they began to get settled here, there were many families with young children who had not attended school for quite some time.

ViVe Wellness, a local Denver non-profit, reached out to Deb Roberts, the principal at Annunciation Catholic School, to inquire about room for these unexpected students. Roberts spoke with the school’s pastor, Father Charles Polifka O.F.M. Cap. about welcoming these new students, tuition-free. His response was an immediate yes, because their mission has always been to educate the migrant community.

The process moved quickly, as these families were eager to have their children begin their education. Annunciation has a full-time bilingual paraprofessional in their small kindergarten classroom, so it was agreed upon that six students would come join the kindergarten class.

When the families came to visit the school, Roberts saw there were more children in need of schooling, and after working through the logistics, Annunciation was able to take on nine students. When the families arrived for the first day of school, that number increased to 12 students in need. So, the blessing of Catholic education was given to all 12 students — one in preschool, six in kindergarten, three in first grade, one in second grade, and one in sixth grade.

These families needed more than just a safe place for their children to learn. The list of items needed was extensive and it started with uniforms to attend Catholic school. Thanks to an established partnership between Seeds of Hope and arc Thrift Store, Annunciation was able to provide gifted vouchers to arc for the families, who then went with Sister Sheila Karpan, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth and a former social worker at Annunciation, to purchase uniforms. Sister Sheila has been building relationships with these families and helping them get settled here in Denver, and those vouchers helped buy more than just school uniforms.

“We are thankful for Seeds of Hope,” Roberts said. “Because of their partnership with arc Thrift Stores, we were able to provide vouchers for these families to purchase kitchenware, necessities for the home, clothing and so much more.” Additional financial support for the students was also generously provided by the University Hills Rotary Club.

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These students have been attending school for a few months and are thriving. They are making friends in the classroom, learning to communicate more every day with their peers, reading sight words, and feeling surrounded by God’s love. The Catholic community is lifting them up and giving them a place to belong. The beauty and giving nature of Annunciation and the Archdiocese of Denver’s Catholic schools are shown every day through powerful stories of hope, love and faith, changing the future one child at a time.

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