Monday, September 30, 2013

About PADS

The Maria Kaupas Center does a service project for a non-profit organization called PADS, or "Public Action to Deliver Shelter".

Our current programming is "Hats for PADS". The students are instructed on basic sewing techniques in an effort to make hats for the homeless/underserved population supported by PADS.

Check out their website to learn more!

Teens4Unity Sports Day!

Our Teens4Unity Sports event was a huge success! 

Participants from area parishes, along with students from the Maria Catalyst High School came together for a day of community and fun. We had an awesome liturgy, led by a community priest, as well. The whole day proved to be a warm, friendly, and community-strengthening event.

We are hoping these events will strengthen our hearts and home, one day at a time.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shared During Reflection: A Student's Trials

Everyday our students begin with reflection. It's a time of contemplation, sharing, and support. 
One student wrote a long letter describing her trials and tribulations. Her fellow students were there for support. 

Dear Ms.Eckhouse, 

I'm at a rough point in my life. you know that I have always been the one to keep my feelings bottled-up inside. Keeping my feelings inside is not solving my problems and it is also making me even more depressed. 
I need to vent to somebody, so here are the things that have been on my mind. 

For a while I've only slept for 3-5 hours out of a 24 hour day. Between school, sports, homework, and other activities, I've been pretty busy. Even if I don't have those things I can't seem to sleep anyways. It's like my body is trained to go to sleep at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning and wakes itself back up at 5:50. The bags are forming under my eyes. I'm exhausted but I still manage to pull myself together. Also I haven't been eating as much as I should. I have never really eaten breakfast, at lunch I eat a little, and I sometimes eat dinner. It's like I don't even get hungry anymore. Also, I'm a perfectionist. Everything has to be perfect or pretty close to it. If it isn't I stress about it. Lately, I've been pretty clumsy or ditsy. I mess up little things like adding water to noodles or writing in black ink instead of pink. Little things like that make me feel unintelligent. 

Also, lately I've been really emotional. I've been crying a lot. I belittle myself about crying because I've failed to accept that "It's okay not to be okay." I've been independent and strong for too long. My brick wall is tumbling down. My mind is starting to malfunction. I feel like an overworked computer that's about to crash. I have no "me" time. It's always do this or do that.

But it's also my fault because I can never say "no" to people. I enjoy helping and satisfying others, but is it worth making myself physically and mentally sick? I don't want to let anyone down because many do depend on me. Also, some relationships in my life need help and patching up. But I'm working on it. 

I really appreciate you reading some of the many things on my mind each and every day. I also wrote this letter because if I ever come off as "sad" or "down" these are probably the reasons why. 

Also, my grandfather figure at church has been sick. I've been thinking of him for a while, hoping he gets better. I don't quite know exactly what's wrong with him, and that's also what gets me worried. I ask that you send him light and prayer. 

Thank you again, Ms.Eckhouse. You are dearly appreciated.


These are the students we are helping; overwhelmed, underwhelmed, and seeking guidance. Everyone has their own personal trials. You are not alone. We welcome all students at CMHS to come reflect with your peers-- and make your student community stronger. 

Note From A Student

A student left this in the office the other day. It was a note addressed to our Program Director, Ms.Eckhouse.

Mrs. Eckhouse, 

I'm glad I have the center to come to. It was hard for me to go into the chapel at first because I was made at God for putting my daddy in jail. I'm beginning to see that God didn't put him in jail, he did. My dad stole electronics. God doesn't do bad things to people. People do. 

You can use this for reflection if you want to...


The Maria Kaupas Center is providing a place for students like this brave student. We want to serve our student community to help them feel safe, empowered, and loved. 

To This Day

Yesterday, our leaders brought this video to reflection. We talked about bullying and the lasting harm it can do to a person. 

To This Day
Shane Koyczan

If you or someone you know is being bullied-- please say something. 

If Jesus Came Today- What Would You Ask Him?

Reflection is the start of every day in our after school programming. A few weeks ago we asked the students a tough question--

"If Jesus came back today, what would you ask him?" 

Their responses were open, honest, and heart-felt: 

"Can you forget everything I did and start over with me?"

"Why do bad things keep happening to me?"

"What religion is right?"

"Where are you?"

"I love you-- thank you!"

"Why do I keep fighting? What am I fighting for?"

"Help my family with money problems."

"Can you help my mom get off drugs?"

"I need your help with my dad. I want to communicate more with him."

"You are someone I can trust with my secrets."

"I would ask if I'm going to Hell-- but first I would say 'I'm sorry'..."

"Can you bring my father back?"

"Will you change my past?"

"Why can't anyone accept me for who I am?"

"My pain is almost too much to handle. Help me."

"How did it feel to be talked about all the time?"

"I don't believe in Jesus."

"I need you to protect me from myself."

"Where have you been when we needed you most?"

"Thank you for letting me have another year."

"Say 'hi' to my mom for me."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Healthy Cooking with a Maria Alum!

Today, we will be joined at the center by Ms.Etsch to talk about healthy breakfast foods (along with a tasty demonstration). 

As a precursor to our session-- here is a link to a site of healthy recipes-- all the entries include apples! Nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive; apples are a great source of fiber and vitamin C!

Healthy Eating: Easy Apple Recipes

Snack on!

Free Stuff in Chicago- for Parents, Teens, and Kids

So, the weather is changing, and gradually, it's getting cooler! Hot chocolate and sweater weather are almost upon us-- so be sure to check out this list of FREE attractions, museum, and more!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Words from Amy Eckhouse, Program Director​

I am so excited about the immense possibilities of the Maria 

Kaupas Center. 
Our students had an active roll in creating a safe, open, and welcoming space for their peers. We are engaged in programming that will enhance spiritual development, leadership and community building.  We started out small in the spring with three programs and now, in the fall, we are developed and offer different programming every weekday. A teen leadership group has been formed. Our "team leaders" are students who assist in the decision making regarding the physicality of the center and will help identify the needs among their peers, as well as the youth in the community.

I hope you join in our enthusiasm as the Maria Kaupas Center 

seeks to inform, enlighten, and strengthen a community of 

independent, moral scholars.

Peace –