Saint Benedict Education Center is committed to planning positive activities during a discouraging time.

It is difficult to deny the fact that these are “discouraging times.”  Because all of us – staff, participants, volunteers, and our families -- have been touched by this pandemic we are committed to offering positive, life-giving opportunities that enrich our SBEC community.  Most recently, we have experienced a Volunteer “Thank you” Event and a Coats and Boots Program.

In past years we have expressed appreciation to our volunteers with a luncheon when everyone enjoyed meeting and interacting with each other. That has not been possible recently because of the need for covid-19 precautions.  

With staff and volunteers being vaccinated new possibilities presented themselves.  This year we invited everyone to join us for a simple gathering of thanks October 27, 1:30—2:30 p.m., in the Ground Level of SBEC.  The shorter time and larger space acknowledged the need for continued caution while allowing us to come together.  Volunteers were invited to share in enjoyable conversation, savor delicious hors’doeuvres, and receive a simple gift.  SBEC staff played an important part in hosting this “Thank you” Event.

The volunteer gift this year was created by The Mending Place:  Potholders, mitts, and microwave bowl holders made in a dramatic hot chili peppers pattern.  The gift was well received.

One person expressed what was heard repeatedly: “…..I met new people and the staff was so welcoming.  You can just feel the love in the building. The food was outstanding…I love the potholder set….”

Our volunteers continue to assist us in this unique time of covid.  We are grateful for their creativity, their flexibility, and their faithfulness to us and to our mission.  It’s truly something to celebrate.

Many things have changed these days, but not the need our participants have for coats and boots.  Once again, Program Supervisor Kara Bauer coordinated this important Family Engagement Activity, the Coats and Boots Program.  Case managers contacted clients to determine the number and sizes of boots and coats needed for their family.  

Staff then divided up the work.  There was shopping to do.  Vehicles to unload. A shopping room to set-up, accessible to staff.  The case managers then prepared bags of coats and boots for their participants.  Individual appointments were made for a happy exchange.

Erie Case Manager Ebony Lindemann shared some text messages she received:
“U saved me lots of money getting all this ty so much”
“Hey just wanted to say thank you much for the boots and coats they’re amazing!”
“Jennifer tried on the jacket and she loves it.....She is so grateful”  

Case managers in the counties served by St. Benedict’s also addressed their clients’ needs.  Kristin Glasser shared this from someone who lives and works in Meadville: “I had a participant express how thankful and grateful she is for all the help she has received from our program.  She said this is the first year in a long time she has been able to buy Christmas gifts for her kids and that was made possible due to the help of the incentives and the winter Boots/Coats.  She was very appreciative for everything…..”

Kara shared with the staff: “Last year we provided coats to 56 clients and 133 kids, and this year to 75 clients and 187 kids.”

It’s obvious to see how these events contribute positive opportunities during a discouraging time