by Pamela Marquis, MSW
Photo by Chris Musil, Living With Purpose Fellow
Frances Joseph Gaudet, a distinguished and inspirational leader, understood that education was an essential key to fighting poverty and crime. Born in Mississippi of African-American and Native American heritage, Gaudet was familiar with the many injustices that surrounded her, and she dedicated her life to prison reform, juvenile justice and education. Her unwavering commitment to those who are set to the side by our culture is an enduring part of her legacy.
Mrs. Gaudet graciously left her trust to the Episcopal Church, and ECSLA now administers the funds for the Gaudet Scholarship Program, as well as for other programs benefiting underserved children and families. In this way her mission continues to find contemporary ways to serve youth with programs that enrich and educate.
“Gaudet grants, which are designed to provide educational enrichment for African American children, are a great tool for our parishes to supplement their outreach,” LaVondra Hallman Dobbs, Gaudet Fund chair says. “Several of our parishes such as St. Anna’s, St. Michael’s & All Angels, Mt. Olivet, Christ Church Covington, and All Soul’s offer creative, engaging and much-needed programs in their communities.”
This year’s recipients of the Francis Joseph Gaudet Fund represent diverse organizations that are doing exemplary work throughout the diocese: everything from homework assistance and tutoring to summer camps and pre-schools. From Algiers to Baton Rouge and Point Coupee to New Orleans, the impact of these programs will be substantial. Besides the nuts and bolts of bolstering academic achievement, many of these program also offer opportunities for youth to discover art, music, creative writing and dance. These programs share many things in common: they foster academic education, creativity, health and spiritual growth, and most importantly, they would make Mrs. Gaudet proud that her youth are still being love, nurtured and educated.
2012 Community Grants
- St. Anna’s Arts for Kids: $5000 to a year-long program at St. Anna’s, New Orleans providing homework assistance, academic drills, reading comprehension, LEAP preparation and language development. Serves Orleans and Jefferson Parishes
- St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church Preschool Program: $5,00 to a preschool program for low income families living in the Scotlandville community of East Baton Rouge Parish.
- Art Council of Pointe Coupee: $4,000 for classes in life skills, art, music, creative writing and dance. Serves Pointe Coupee Parish
- Christ Episcopal Enrichment Program: $5,000 for a 5 week all day summer program for children living in poverty to review skills taught during the school year and integrated enrichment activities. Serves St. Tammany Parish.
- CARITAS: $5,000 to a program providing early learning classes and interpersonal skills for economically disadvantaged children age 2-4 as well as a Summer Experience program for at-risk girls, aged 6-15.
- All Souls Episcopal Church & Community Center: $6,000 to provide homework assistance and remedial tutoring, 4 afternoons a week. Serves St. Bernard and Orleans Parishes.
- Mt. Olivet Episcopal Church: $4,000 for educational and art opportunities for African American children in the Algiers area. Serves Orleans Parish.
- Gardere Community Christian School: $6,000 to allow expansion to the after school tutoring program that was established 2 years ago. Serves East Baton Rouge Parish