Friday, January 31, 2014

A Close to Catholic Schools Week: A Celebration!

Today was an AMAZING day at the Maria Kaupas Center! We saw over 70 teens pass through our doors, and we had some very special guests! 

The preschoolers from Nativity Early Childhood Center came for a visit to the MKC today! We had over twenty preschoolers (age 3-5) come for a visit today. 

Our leaders stepped up and took the reigns today for our Catholic Schools Week Celebration. The leaders led three different stations for the preschoolers. They started with a story time, then an awesome color-matching game, and finally, a hands-on activity about mixing primary colors. 

Before the activities were even over the preschoolers were asking to come back to play with the big kids. 

After an hour the preschoolers begrudgingly left the MKC. They wanted to hug each and every big kid before they left! 

It was among the sweetest sights ever seen. 

After the preschoolers left the (teen) team leaders breathed a sigh of exhaustion. They enjoyed the time they spent with the preschoolers, and asked to go visit them as soon as we could. 

While wiping down a finger-paint laden table, I was approached by one of our (teen) team leaders. 

"You know Ms.Quinn, today changed the way I thought."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I didn't want to play with the little kids-- because I thought they were kind of annoying. Now, I kind of... like them." 

"That's cool, dude. Would you want to help out with them again?"


This may very well have been the experience that changed his direction. Perhaps, one day, he will become a child psychologist, teacher, or director of a non-profit daycare... 

These admissions of shifts in personal paradigms are so genuine and special. We seek to provide and nurture those epiphanies to all who seek them.

The MKC is the place where these important differences will be made. 

Gung hay fat choy!

Gung hay fat choy!

Today is the Lunar New Year! 

photo credit,, 2014

In many traditions, including Chinese, the new year is marked by the lunar calendar, not the solar calendar. That makes today New Year's Day for many people!

"It’s the Lunar New Year and the Chinese Year of the Horse. The horse is part of a 12-year-cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. These interact with the five elements: wood, metal, fire, water, earth. 2014 is the year of the wood horse, taking over from the year of the water snake."

Good Things are Happening at the MKC

Today was an awesome and record-breaking day for the Maria Kaupas Center!

The CMHS students had a noon dismissal yesterday-- which means they got to eat lunch all together in the Kaupas Kafe. This is a special treat, since our teens are friends-- regardless of their grade in school. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors got to eat together, laugh, tell stories-- and relax as a peer group.After lunch, everyone adjourned to playing board games, dancing to music, pool matches, pop-shot contests, and just, relaxing.

We saw over 70 students come through the doors of the MKC yesterday. New and old faces met, mingled, and shared some laughs.

With our diverse student population, it is always so amazing to see teens from different families, backgrounds, and traditions come together to bond over commonalities-- rather than argue over differences.

We can't wait to do it all again today! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Special Field Trip: Hats for PADS

For the past several months, Sister Elizabeth Ann has been working with a group of 6th graders on making hats for the homeless at the PADS shelter.

PADS, or, Public Action to Deliver Shelter, is a charitable 501c3 non-profit organization with offices all around the Chicagoland area. They seek to provide safe shelter to the homeless population.

Sister Elizabeth Ann took her sixth grade Sacred Sewing students to visit the PADS shelter to deliver the hats they made. This was an important lesson for all involved--

These are people who need love and support. We should reach out and help.

It is important to make sure your neighbor has enough. Your neighbor is someone's daughter, son, mother, father, cousin... and they need love just like your family needs love. 
The human condition is a social one. 
We're all in this together. 

Sister Elizabeth Ann & one of her Sacred Sewing 6th Graders

Sister Elizabeth Ann & one of her Sacred Sewing 6th Graders

Ms.Eckhouse helps give out hats

It was an awesome experience

we all learned a lot

A happy recipient of a new hat and scarf set

We can't wait to come back with more hats!

The Hats for PADS programming is just one way the MKC is reaching out to the community. Be sure to check out more projects, coming soon!