Friday, February 28, 2014

Communication is Key

This week the teens at the MKC received a John Powell quote for their "Quote of the Week".

"We are only as happy as our relationships are happy."

Usually our teens give thoughtful insight to their interpretation of the weekly quote. This week we saw a more real-time application and learning process.

Two teens are dating. They sit together at lunch, talk on the phone, and sit together for their after-school snack of popcorn and nachos... but something is amiss.

They aren't talking. They sit and look at one another-- one talks, the other hears, but doesn't listen. The situation quickly becomes frustrating.

"Communicate what you need from her. Communicate what you need from him. Talk to each other. How can your boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, parent-- or anyone for that matter, understand what you need if you don't make that known. Communicate. You'll be much happier." 

The teens attempted this insightful new philosophy... and this what they had to say about it.

"You know, I tried what we talked about with that quote-- and it worked. It's way better when we understand each other."

"My relationship with my mom is getting much better. I'm glad we can talk and listen to each other. It's much better than before."

This was a powerful quote with real world applications. The teens took it upon themselves to engage in discovery learning. They tried a new approach to solve a problem. It was an enriching experience with growth for all.

Every teen admitted they had relationships that need work.It took admitting a problem existed to solve it. 

We learned by observing, as well. We watched them engage in new, empathetic behaviors with positive results. We couldn't be more proud!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quote of the Week


"We are only as happy as our relationships are happy."
                                                                     -John Powell


Every week the MKC teens receive a quote to think about during the week ahead.
Yesterday, the students received their weekly quote in Reflection. The teens will then discuss what the quote means throughout the course of the week.

An example of an interpretation of this quote is:
"How we are in our relationships affects how we hear God."

 We are so excited to hear more thoughtful interpretations throughout the week!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thank you, Catalyst-Maria!




" I'm glad the scholars have the MKC. Their day is so rigorous. It's so academically focused. It's so much-- it's so taxing for them. Here, though, you get to see the best parts of them. They can be themselves and relax. I am just... so grateful for this place. I shudder. I shudder to think where they'd be without you and the MKC."

A Catalyst-Maria staff member shared her thoughts on the Maria Kaupas Center. She expressed gratitude, love, and appreciation. 

We hope this video expresses those same notions of gratitude to you. 

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sacred Sewing: Peek-a-Boo Pillows


Today, the 6th graders in Sister Elizabeth Ann's Sacred Sewing class completed one of several projects, Peek-a-Boo Pillows!

MKC members sewed and stuffed small pillows in engaging, child-friendly patterns. These students will deliver these pillows to local hospitals and police/fire departments to be given to children who are ill, have been injured, or have experienced some type of trauma. 

They will comfort and console some of the city’s youngest victims.







These students did an amazing job! We've effectively introduced an element of restorative justice into the lives of these students. Community Service is an important part of any holistic experience. These students got a taste-- and they are hungry for more! Good job, Sacred Sewing students! 

We are so proud of you!

Friday, February 14, 2014

People Make Mistakes


God cannot be life and at the same time send sickness.
God cannot be love and at the same time do something in anger.
God cannot be a protective presence and at the same time will accidents. . .
This is completely against God energy, which is whole.
 ~Eric Butterworth


Our teens focused on this quote in Reflection this week. They were asked to interpret what they thought it meant. Earlier in the week we saw quotes from the teens about understanding a loving God. 

As our week comes to a close- and we move on to a new quote, Ms.Eckhouse shared a personal story in Reflection about a former student. 

"Sara was a high school student I'd had a long time ago. One night, she and some friends were out driving, and they got into a terrible car crash.  It was rainy and slippery out-- all but one of the girls made it out of the crash. Sara died that night."

A student stopped Ms.Eckhouse's story to ask a poignant question-- 

"Was she drunk?"

"No-- they weren't drinking. They were just driving during a bad storm, and maybe a bit too fast. We've all done that. If you've ever rushed somewhere-- you've done that. It was a mistake. It wasn't malicious or thought-out. It was just... girls who wanted to get home after a bad storm" 

"Oh... so it was a mistake." 

"Yes." 

We, as humans, are imperfect. We miss the mark often. It is important to ultimately own these mistakes and not displace blame. Blame is what hinders and stifles spiritual growth.

If we own our mistakes, we can learn and grow from the experience. Only then, can we nurture an acceptance of God, as a loving, merciful, and guiding Presence. 

We often blame God for these tragedies when really, it's human error. God does not decide to take people from our lives. God is not a taker; God is a giver.

God does not call us home-- God welcomes us home.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Operation Easter Bunny Needs Your Help!


Operation Easter Bunny
Needs Your Help!


The Maria Kaupas Center is doing a service learning project in April as part of the Global Youth Service Day. We will need to do lots of shopping and fundraising to make our “Operation Easter Bunny” a successful project. 

What is “Operation Easter Bunny”, you ask? Our MKC teens, along with any other participants that would like to sign up, will be filling decorative Easter cups with candy and treats for the residential youth at Mercy Home. Our goal is to have 200 cups done on April 12th-- and 500 cups done, all together.


If you have any children's Easter goods that you are looking to get rid of, please let us know!
We are looking for donations of:
Easter grass (to fill the cups)
Easter candy- jelly beans, chocolate, etc...
Small toys

Any help you can offer will make a huge difference!

If you are interested in donating coupons, Easter goods, or monetary support-- please contact us at Maria Kaupas Center:


Amy Eckhouse
aeckhouse@mariakaupascenter.com
773.925.8686 x5001

bquinn@mariakaupascenter.com
773.925.8686 x5004


All the good we do is made possible by our generous donors. We are so grateful to have so much support from such wonderful people.


Thank you for helping make our mission possible!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Staff Spotlight: Carmen Ontiveros

   In this installment of this series, Carmen Ontiveros will answer questions for our 
"Staff Spotlight"! 




1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Brighton Park on the southwest side of Chicago

2. Where did you go to school? 

I went to Trinity High School in River Forest, IL, Loyola University Chicago (B.A. in Political Science), Roosevelt University (Paralegal Certificate), and The John Marshall Law School (J.D.)

3. Did you know you've always wanted to work in the field you’re in now?  

Yes, I always knew I wanted to work with youth at a not for profit. I have mentored a couple of high school students while in college and shortly after graduation. I enjoy working with students. I also enjoy helping youth become successful.

I knew the Maria Kaupas Center was where I was meant to be the first time I visited the Center. I believe in the mission of this great organization and know that the Maria Kaupas Center is helping many youth find their home away from home. The students feel safe, are involved in many fun activities, learn how to be a true leader, and get closer to God and their Catholic faith.

4. What is your favorite thing about the Center? 

 I am thankful for the wonderful staff and volunteers who have truly made a difference in the lives of many students. (My favorite thing about the center).

5. What is your favorite food? 

My favorite food is pasta.

6. What is your favorite book? Why?  
My favorite book is the book by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She writes about her struggles growing up and how she never gave up. This book inspires me to accomplish my goals and help others accomplish their goals as well. She truly is a role model for our youth today.


A special thanks to Carmen for taking the time to answer these questions!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teens Were Asked... What Does This Mean?

Each week during Daily Reflection at the MKC the teens discuss a quote hand-picked by program director Amy Eckhouse--

Here’s what they are making sense of this week:

                God cannot be life and at the same time send sickness.
                God cannot be love and at the same time do something in anger.
                God cannot be a protective presence and at the same time will accidents. . .
                This is completely against God energy, which is whole.

                                                                                ~Eric Butterworth

The teens were asked a poignant question-- 

"What does this mean to you?"


They responded--

"I think it means we need to take responsibility in our suffering."

"God will send people to help you. He won't send suffering. Suffering happens. God uses it, but He doesn't cause it."

"How can God hurt you when all he is... is love?"


Our teens are learning to ask questions they've never thought to ask in regards to their spiritual life.
They are doing an amazing job everyday. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunday Funday Wishlist Update

Good Afternoon and Happy Monday!

We updated our wishlist last night-- perhaps you have these items laying around at home... or know someone who has a vacuum cleaner they don't need.

Every donation, large or small, makes a huge impact for us. 



Vacuum Cleaner
Swiffer/Floor Sweeper
Wii Games & XBox Games
Wii & XBox Controllers
Legos (all legos!)
Batteries (AA, AAA)
Board Games
Pop Shot (Basketball) Game
Karaoke Discs
Area Rugs (Large and Small)
Large Containers of Lemonade Concentrate
Interior Paint (Neutral Colors)
Paint Rollers & Drop Cloths
Hand Sanitizer
Hand Soap Dispensers & Refills
Cleaning Supplies
Paper Goods: Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Paper Plates/Cups
Large containers of Lemonade concentrate
Popcorn machine popcorn (with the seasoning, oil, and kernels)

If you have any items (or others) that you would like to donate, please contact us today! We can set-up a pick-up or drop-off and tax information. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We Love Pope Francis!

Due to the overwhelming popularity of Pope Francis, he is soon to be the most socially-relevant Pope ever.  His forward thinking, socially-just ideas, and personable attitude make him a leader for the people.  

We wanted to get an idea of what young people thought of  Pope Francis; here's what they said-- 




“The Pope is open minded and this will help the Catholic faith”

“He is awesome – switching things up a bit – A younger spirit”

“The Pope is generous and accepting.  He likes all ages”

“I like it that the Pope drives the same car as me.”

“I like it that the Pope ditched the red shoes.”

“The Pope is not afraid of being condemned by people who don’t like him”

“He is more for the people.  He is noble – I like him better than all the Popes."

“The Pope’s progressive attitude will rejuvenate the Catholic church”

“The Pope’s actions are much like Jesus.  He leads by example”

“The Pope understands compassion”

“The Pope likes to kick it with ordinary people like me.”

PNC Neighborhood Wishlist: Eating Right, Eating Light

. . .next stop Hollywood!

After having mastered all kinds of cooking techniques and recipes, the budding chefs at the MKC show that they look as good in front of a camera as they do behind the kitchen counter.

Eating Light, Eating Right is the PNC Bank grant-funded food and cooking program offered to MKC high school scholars. PNC not only funded the program, they also chose to feature it in a video that highlighted just a few of the grant recipients. Out of close to 1,000 entries, one hundred were funded, and six were selected to be highlighted on the PNC Wishlist website. Watch, as our skilled cooks prepare a delicious  and healthy meal. Bon app├ętit AND break a leg!! 




Operation Easter Bunny

The Maria Kaupas Center is doing a service learning project in April as part of the Global Youth Service Day. We will need to do lots of shopping and fundraising to make our “Operation Easter Bunny” a successful project. 


What is “Operation Easter Bunny”, you ask? Our MKC teens, along with any other participants that would like to sign up, will be filling decorative Easter cups with candy and treats for the residential youth at Mercy Home. Our goal is to have 200 cups done on April 12th-- and 500 cups done, all together.

We are writing to ask, if you are able—could you please save any coupons, circulars, mailers, penny savers, etc… that you aren't going to use and give them to the MKC? We are hoping to use our couponing knowledge and talents to help make a huge impact with a small budget.

Additionally, if you have any children's Easter goods that you are looking to get rid of, please let us know! We are looking for donations of: 

Easter grass (to fill the cups)
Easter candy- jelly beans, chocolate, etc...
Small toys

So, anything you can spare would make a huge difference. We are especially interested in manufacturer’s coupons, if you are able to give them up. No need to organize—we can do all that! 

If your friends and neighbors would be willing to donate as well, it would be immensely helpful; and we would appreciate it a great deal. In many cases, we are able to pick up coupons and donations, as well (as delivery may be difficult).

Any help you can offer will make a huge difference!

If you are interested in donating coupons, Easter goods, or monetary supports- please contact us at Maria Kaupas Center: 


773.925.8686 x5001

773.925.8686 x5004


If you prefer to mail coupons, donations, or monetary support please send to (and make checks payable to): 


Maria Kaupas Center
2740 W 68th Street
Chicago, IL 60629



*for checks, please send documentation that denotes what we can use the funds for- for instance a note that reads: FOR USE TO OBTAIN SUPPLIES FOR 'OPERATION EASTER BUNNY', etc...

All the good we do is made possible by our generous donors. We are so grateful to have so much support from such wonderful people. Thank you for helping make our mission possible. 






Sunday, February 2, 2014

Updated Wishlist Sunday!



Happy Sunday, MKC Followers! 



We have updated our wishlist--

What are we currently looking for?

We are looking to connect with the alumnae of Maria High School and individuals in the community. Come share your talents with us! We are currently looking for volunteers to do sessions on:


Juggling
Balloon Animals

Origami

We would like to explore other sessions, as well. For example- do you play music? Come and run a jam session! Do you dance? Come and teach a Zumba class! Do you find yourself wondering where God fits in your life? Come and join in an open group conversation. Recently, we've had volunteers work on hair care, jewelry making, music, and poetry writing. 



We'd love to see what other awesome talents that you can bring to the MKC!

As for donations, we are currently looking for:
Napkins
Paper plates, paper bowls
Disposable nacho boats
Styrofoam or plastic cups 
Large cans of nacho cheese
Bags of nacho chips
Wii Games & XBox Games
Wii & XBox Controllers
Legos (all legos!)
Batteries (AA, AAA)
Board Games
Ping Pong Balls
Ping Pong Paddles
Billiards Cues
Karaoke Discs
Area Rugs (Large and Small)
Large Containers of Lemonade Concentrate
Interior Paint (Neutral Colors)
Paint Rollers & Drop Cloths
Hand Sanitizer
Hand Soap Dispensers & Refills
Cleaning Supplies
Paper Goods: Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Paper Plates/Cups


So many of you have donated your time and many of you have offered materials and services needed for the Center. Thank you so much for helping us continue our mission!!!


If you are interested in making a monetary or amenities donation to the MKC, please contact Britt Quinn or Amy Eckhouse to for information or to coordinate a donations pick up!