As the time approached for our first class of 20 students to graduate, we faced the reality that, if we said “Good-bye” to the graduates when they finished high school, we would have given them a false hope. The reality is that a Kenyan with only a high school education has little chance of securing a decent job. We heard a call to reach out and support our students for post high school service and college studies.
The Social Service Program
The first issue that we had to examine was what to do with our students during the period between graduation in November and beginning tertiary studies, which normally is not before August of the following year. We used what at first seemed a problem as an opportunity. Most schools following Ignatian pedagogy have a component of social service and reflection as an integral part of the high school program. Because the Kenya government curriculum is so heavy, we did not find a way to implement an ongoing program of social service during high school, but we found we could organize it after the completion of school.
During the so-called “gap” period between December and August, we implemented a program of social service to enable our students to reach out and begin to make a return for what they have received. Monday through Thursday the women work at a home sponsored by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, and the men are assigned to one of two orphanages for boys. Friday is given to a reflection group on the graduates’ experience of service. The reflection group enables the graduates to realize what it means to be “Men and Women for Others” and to make involvement with the poor and marginalized a part of their life commitment. The social service program becomes a way to implement the values that our students were picking up during their time as students at St. Aloysius.
Every Friday, the graduates also undertake career counseling so that a suitable college program can be chosen by each. We are able to cover tuition and other costs for college studies for $1,000 per graduate per year. Programs generally run between 2 and 4 years.
Please visit the Support Us page to see how you can help us realize our dream of providing the “after graduation” components that will enable our graduates to become productive members of society who have a vision of service.