Well, it seems like forever since I last blogged about something going on in the news but I am happy to report that I am back from my week working with the Sisters of St. Joseph and their volunteer program.
I cannot go into too much detail about what I did (I am saving that for our magazine-so check it out in July), but it was a great week. I got involved in so many unique ministries that the sisters provide out in Rochester.
The overarching theme is Social Justice and Peace which stems from Catholic Social Teaching. All the ministries of the SSJ focus on these core components to provide the necessary resources people need in their daily lives. I was involved in education, health care, community and environmental ministries throughout the week and I had the opportunity to meet some really amazing people. It was truly an eye-opening experience to see how many lives we were able to touch just by being present and lending a helping hand.
Some words about Rochester, New York:
- the city's population was 43.7% White, 41.7% Black or African American, 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.1% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 6.6% from some other race and 4.4% from two or more races. 16.4% of the total population are Hispanic or Latino of any race, mostly made up of Puerto Ricans
- There were 88,999 households of which 30.0% had children under 18 living with them, 25.1% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone 65 or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.19.
- The median income for a city household is $27,123, and the median family income is $31,257. Males had a median income of $30,521, versus $25,139 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,588. About 23.4% of families and 25.9% of the population are below the poverty line, including 37.5% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those ages 65 or over.
- The graduation rate for the public schools is about 39%. Based on this statistic, most families have enrolled their children into the Catholic school systems. It is hard because of the cost associated with Catholic education.
- Rochester has one of the highest rates of refugees per capita. About 1000+ refugee families have settled just outside the downtown area of Rochester. The come from Eastern Europe, Vietnam, the Middle East, and other places.
Rochester does have its areas of poverty and hardship like many cities but there was a feeling of welcome when I arrived. It was a great place to live and work for a week and I hope that others get inspired to participate in this amazing program and get a glimpse into the lives of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
sources: City of Rochester
Click here for more information about the Sisters of St. Joseph, Rochester, NY.