Texas Expansion Update - 2nd Quarter 2016 (Part 1)
Our capital campaign to expand the Houston Study Centers has now raised $12.8 million out of a goal of $15 million!
Our expansion plans are already being implemented, as both new study centers (Sheridan and Westcott) are well into their construction phases.
Sheridan Construction Update
The new Sheridan Study Center at 2222 Bellefontaine Street is nearing completion for a Fall 2016 grand opening. The new center will provide plenty of space for girls’ programs such as the Art of Living, Creative Cuisine, and University Boulevard. Sheridan plans to add new hospitality and leadership training programs, including seminars on issues such as family, education, and marriage. It will also more comfortably house the ten residents of the current Sheridan Center.
Westcott Construction Update
Construction of the new Westcott Study Center for men continues to make progress, as the building is now in the framing stage. The center remains on track for completion by the end of the year; it will provide space to serve additional men and boys with leadership development and training programs.
CHAUCER STUDY CENTER PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT
Over Spring Break, 20 young men from the Chaucer Study Center had a unique opportunity to serve at the El Molino Conference Center in Monterrey, Mexico. On Sunday March 13, they attended Mass in the Jesus Sumo Sacerdote parish to invite the children to the following week of day camp. The camp provided classes in English, catechism, and sports, and accommodated up to 60 kids at a time. The team was also able to distribute clothing and toys in the poorest parts of town. One recipient said, “I appreciate your donations, but what I need most is your prayers.” Team leader Alex Hoff commented, “It has been very moving to see the poverty of the people, yet their surprisingly uplifted spirits and their deep faith.” Trips like this one help the young men of Chaucer understand the larger picture of poverty and privilege, the joys of mercy, compassion and generosity, the reality of spiritual wealth in the midst of material need, and the value of a life of service to others.
Chaucer Success Story
Alec Smith’s first experience with the Chaucer Drive Study Center came during the summer after his fourth grade year when he attended Leadership Camp Texas. His cabin of twelve boys plus counselors became a tight-knit team, with a team name, a flag, and a common goal of winning the camp trophy for sports and games. He also had classes in academic subjects like history and practical skills such as woodworking. But the most profound impact of camp came through the mentoring relationships he developed with his counselors, as they helped each camper develop goals and practice good habits. Alec credits his counselors with teaching him to show consideration for others in little things, like offering to pick up drink refills at the dinner table. His experience was so positive that he returned the following three years as a camper, and two years after that as a counselor.
Alec continued his involvement in Chaucer activities in high school as part of The Grade. By listening to speakers experienced in a variety of professions, he developed a sense of the kind of career he didn’t want (doctor) and the kind of career he did want (engineer). He benefitted from the program’s spiritual formation activities, particularly individual mentoring from the staff who live in the study centers and devote their time apart from their professional work to forming students. Alec especially appreciated the way the staff welcomed and cared for everyone, so that he was comfortable discussing whatever was on his mind and even inviting his friends to program activities.
Now Alec is a sophomore at Texas A&M University, studying industrial engineering. He credits Chaucer’s programs both with helping him find his career pathway and with teaching him how to reflect on and discuss the important issues that he has encountered in college. The Grade’s philosophy course, silent retreats, and mentoring helped him to develop critical thinking skills and leadership communication skills to shape the thinking of others. Alec continues to participate in Chaucer-sponsored activities in College Station to maintain the roots of faith and ethics that the center helped him develop in childhood.