St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

By Caroline A. Wolff
Founder, St. Gerard Campus 

St. Gerard: There's Lots Happening Behind That Fence

 

June 1, 2017 | View PDF

St. Gerard Teachers: Back row L to R - Alice Wood, Math; Shannon Greenland, Math; Fr. Nicholas A Marziani, St James Catholic Church, World and American History, Physics, Theology, Economics; Adolfo Murallon, Biology/Anatomy; Joseph Cinney, English; Roberta Butler, Academic Administrator; Carol Wolff, Sociology/Director, Terri Gibbs, Day-care; Cara Seifart, RN/FL Dept. of Health; Diane Vaughn, Psychology/Earth Science; Sitting L to R - Kim Garces, Life Management; Yvonne Giles, PE; Toni Hurst, Dorm Teacher; Jan Hamrick, Dorm Teacher; Jessica Macy, Day Care Director/Office Manager, Kathy Colegrove, Day Care. Not pictured: Peter Merkle, Phd, Chemistry; Christy Martinez, RN, Child Birth Preparedness

St. Gerard Campus – that little building with the big fence - has free programs available for local new moms or those young ladies who just found out they are pregnant. The Pregnancy Center provides counseling, pregnancies test and sonograms (by appointment). Residential housing is available to pregnant teens or young mothers who are attending St. Gerard High School that need a place to stay. The high school is fully accredited and includes a day care/nursery for the young ladies' children two (2) years old and under. St. Gerard also provides transportation to and from school, and to doctor's appointments for the students and/or their children.

The high school is a hub of activity with an enrollment of about 20. The young moms who have already delivered their babies bring them to school each day; Any child under two (2) months old stays in the classroom with the mom while class is in session; therefore, it is not unusual to see an infant in its mother's arms being rocked or being feed while a class is in session.

The classes are taught by qualified staff to a high octane group of gals with some complicated background including: homelessness, human trafficking, prostitution, drug abuse and/or physical abuse. Teachers must cajole, counsel, mediate differences, and perform extra duty to make sure they connect with each student.

Additionally, very individual attention is required between teacher and student because absences can be many. Including: maternity leave (2-3 weeks), absences for doctor's appointments for both the young mom and her child, and visits to the Health and Human Services department to apply for benefits like food stamps, WIC and child support. Teachers work closely with the students to insure all class material is presented to them even when they miss class.

St Gerard's mission is to protect the unborn, and assist pregnant teens to better themselves through education. Joe Cinney teaches four levels of English and Computer Applications and he is also an instructor at Learn to Read. He says, "We need to give people a second chance. No one is perfect and everyone needs the gift of a new beginning". His class is very active with class participation because he encourages the students to express their opinions.

Math Teacher Alice Wood states, "I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of St. Gerard Campus. The girls are loving mothers and they work very hard to accomplish their educational goals."

Father Nick Marziani teaches five different classes. Fr Nick recently had an interaction with students as they were transitioning from Social Studies to Theology; the students began to ask earnest questions about the afterlife, as well as potent topics related to the world and its connections with the next. He says, "It is this openness to the Spirit's work that keeps me going at St Gerard, and I know that one day I'll look back to behold a trail of God's footprints that have been made all over the institution."

By Diane Vaughn. Teacher, Adoption Coordinator and Grant writer

St. Gerard Campus 1405 US Hwy. 1 S • St Augustine, FL 32084 (904)829-5516 www.stgerardcampus.org

All the services provided by St Gerard require the support and donations from the local community. There are some grants, but the bulk of all the expenses are paid by individual donations from local organizations or individuals. St. Gerard always needs money for its basic overhead expenses like school lunches, utilities, insurance, rent, etc.Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to support the programs at St. Gerard Campus. You can also make donations now through AmazonSmile whenever you order anything through Amazon a portion is donated to St. Gerard's account. If sending a check send to:

St. Gerard Campus, Inc

PO Box 4382,

St. Augustine, FL 32085

Physical address is 1405 S. Hwy 1 South, across the street from Target and next to Destiny Church.

Phone 904 829 5516

www.stgerardcampus.org

 
 

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