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placeholder January 18, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic Schools Week

SJND students put their 'Faith in Action'

Alexia Aranda

Alexia Aranda (Class of 2016) is a senior in Saint Joseph Notre Dame's Faith in Action class. She has been using her gifts at the Oakland Catholic Worker, a house of hospitality offering transitional housing to Latin American immigrants.

Based on the practice of solidarity with the poor and disenfranchised, the community center offers food, temporary shelter and other services to some of the neediest among us.

Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School added Faith in Action, a seminar course for seniors, to its curriculum last year. In this course, students have the freedom to research an issue of their choice and provide related direct service in the community. In Faith in Action, SJND students learn deeply about different meanings and levels of service, structural analysis, Catholic social thought and advocacy for justice.

Alexia goes to the center twice a week to teach English and support the Spanish-speakers in learning English as a Second Language. She believes that through access to ESL programs, the immigrant students will gain an advantage and chance to improve their lives in the United States.

Throughout her Faith in Action experience, Alexia has thoroughly enjoyed her time not only teaching, but building relationships with the students in her class. She says, "I found that it wasn't about teaching them English so they could get any job, but rather giving them the ability to get the job they aspire for."

Milt Werner, interim principal at St. Joseph Notre Dame, commented: "All of St. Joseph Notre Dame High School is extremely proud to have Alexia Aranda, a senior, volunteering at the Catholic Worker through her Faith in Action Class. Alexia has worked primarily with recent immigrants who need a myriad of support to survive and become successful contributing citizens. Because of Alexia's command of both English and Spanish she has been instrumental in assisting immigrants in their initial stages of information gathering and understanding as they start to assimilate into the United States."

Hearing her students' stories has helped Alexia see the true value of using her gifts. The Oakland Catholic Worker was so impressed with Alexia's dedication, that they have asked her to come back for second semester as a lead teacher for one of their classes.

 
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