PROVIDENCE — Providence College presented a second gift of $100,000 to the Diocese of Providence Catholic School Office (CSO) to support Catholic education in Rhode Island through its innovative FriarServe program. The funding will continue to be paired with a service component involving PC students, faculty, and staff. More than 500 Providence College students, faculty, and staff have volunteered more than 2,500 hours of service over the first four years of FriarServe. The service component of the program has now also been renewed for another four years.
“We are pleased to renew our commitment to Catholic education at the K-12 level in the Diocese of Providence with a new, four-year commitment to the FriarServe program,” said Providence College President Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P. “I am immensely proud of the work of our students, faculty, and staff who have volunteered their services in the five FriarServe schools over the initial years of the program, and, especially, how we were able to pivot to offering some of those services virtually during the last year. In addition, I know that our financial support has made a substantial difference in the lives of dozens of children attending Diocesan Catholic schools, and I am so pleased that we are able to continue this commitment,” Father Sicard said.
“I am very grateful to Providence College for the financial support it has offered once again for several of our Catholic elementary schools,” said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin. “This very generous contribution recognizes the importance of Catholic education in our community, and will certainly be a blessing for our students, their families and our schools. Thank you, Father Sicard!”
The first contribution of its kind to the diocese was made in 2017 in honor of PC’s Centennial. The College’s second gift will once again be made through the CSO in equal sums of $25,000 for four years. The money will be used for scholarships to students attending Catholic elementary and secondary schools via the CSO’s Anchor of Hope Fund, a diocesan financial assistance fund that helps financially strapped families secure a Catholic school education for their children. Part of the gift will be used to continue the Bishop Matthew Harkins Founder Fund, which was created in recognition of the founder of Providence College, to provide tuition assistance to students attending four urban Catholic elementary schools in the City of Providence and one in Johnston. Schools participating in this round of FriarServe are Bishop McVinney School (South Providence), Blessed Sacrament School (Mt. Pleasant), St. Augustine School (Mt. Pleasant), St. Pius V School (Elmhurst) and St. Rocco School (Johnston), which is new to the program.
Regina Hand, principal of St. Rocco School, had the benefit of experiencing FriarServe when she was a teacher at St. Pius.
“It is just such a wonderful program. “I was really hoping that we could bring this to St. Rocco’s. We are so excited.”
Sister Josemaría, O.P., principal of St. Pius V, shared that the FriarServe program is such a gift to her school.
“The Dominicans have a real dedication to intellectual and moral formation and so being these little siblings across the street we are so happy to welcome them back here. Our children love it and our families do too and we couldn’t be happier.”
Janet Rufful, principal of St. Augustine School, said that her students love the FriarServe volunteers.
“They help out in our classrooms, they help with the afterschool programs. The relationships and the bonds they have been building have been wonderful. We truly appreciate it.”
The five elementary schools all have Reading Weeks, Service Days, and other events where the presence and support of members of the Providence College community will be of great benefit to the individual school communities. Many students at these schools will also benefit from having PC students as mentors and/or volunteer tutors. The College will work with the CSO as well as each individual school to ascertain individual school needs and coordinate volunteer opportunities for PC students, faculty and staff.
The scholarships and service component of the program are beginning with the start of the new academic year.
With reports from Laura Kilgus, assistant editor of Rhode Island Catholic.