Don's lifelong dedication and commitment to our communities serves to remind us that all children are truly our collective responsibility.
Often, the news we see and read focuses only on what is wrong with our community, and less on all the good that is happening around us; that The Rodman Ride for Kids celebrates its 25th year this September is the type of news that we are always happy to share.
Don Rodman, local businessman, philanthropist, and member of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, has supported social service agencies that support at-risk children in Massachusetts for many years. Never forgetting his Mattapan roots, Don began the Rodman Ride for Kids in 1991 as a way to engage the community in a collaborative effort to raise much needed funds for non-profit organizations across the region, including Catholic Charities. We are honored to be among the select Massachusetts organizations that champion The Rodman Ride for Kids' mission: "to have every kid in our communities live as we would want our own kids to live."
Don's lifelong dedication and commitment to our communities serves to remind us that all children are truly our collective responsibility. Catholic Charities is proud to participate with The Rodman Ride as we continue in our efforts to support children who have limited access to resources and opportunities.
Catholic Charities provides an array of services for children and teens including early education and care, afterschool programs, counseling and mentoring services. Each of these services is committed to providing the support necessary for young people to succeed.
Those like Jayla, who was 13, living with her mother and older sister, and having a tough time in just about every aspect of her life -- academically and with family and friends. We first met Jayla two years ago when her increasingly concerned mother sought counseling help for her daughter at Catholic Charities Laboure Center. Once engaged in counseling, her therapist saw that Jayla craved one-on-one attention and referred her to our TEAM mentoring program. There Jayla was matched with a capable and caring mentor; a person who could be a positive adult influence in her young life.
After a thorough screening process, Jayla was matched with her mentor, Jen, and the two have developed a strong bond. With support from staff, Jen provides Jayla with encouragement and guidance, helping Jayla make good decisions and thrive. As Jayla says, "Jen has taught me to speak up when I feel the need to and that I can always talk to her about anything."
According to Program Coordinator Stephanie Gould-Marian, Jen has also formed a connection to Jayla's mother and supported her entire family. Last year was a particularly difficult one for the family. Jayla's mother got married to the man who helped raise Jayla and several months later he passed away from cancer. Jen was there for the family during the entire time. She worked with Jayla to create a fundraiser to support some of the medical bills and was an emotional support for the family during the funeral. Jayla's mother says that "Jen has practically become a part of the family."
As summer comes to an end, Jen is helping Jayla prepare her application for membership on the TEAM leadership council as well as for her new school.
They are also training together for this year's Rodman Ride for Kids.
Go to www.ccab.org to learn more about TEAM and the Rodman Ride for Kids.
DEBORAH KINCADE RAMBO IS PRESIDENT OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WORK OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES, GO TO WWW.CCAB.ORG.
Deborah Kincade Rambo is president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston.