COLUMBIA—Living in poverty doesn’t just affect a child’s physical quality of life, such as what they eat, what they wear and where they live. It can also have a profound effect on their brain and how they learn, influencing not only how they do in school but their chance for success later in life.
These stark realities were discussed at the annual Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic and United Methodist Bishops’ Dialogue on Oct. 13 at Our Lady of the Hills Church.
Tammy Pawloski, director of the Center for Excellence and professor of early childhood education at Francis Marion University, was the keynote speaker. She used statistics to show how poverty impacts the way students function in a classroom.
The information is crucial to implementing the public education initiative set forth in the LARCUM bishops’ pastoral letter, issued in April, which set out a commitment to support public education in the state.
“It’s a myth that poverty doesn’t matter in the classroom,” Pawloski said. “Some people say ‘teaching is teaching,’ but if you think that, talk to a teacher in a Title 1 school and listen to their struggles.” Title 1 schools have large numbers of students from low-income families.
Pawloski described how the brains of infants and young children are influenced by positive stimuli and factors such as touch, conversation, good nutrition, constant opportunities for learning and social interaction. Kids who come from families with more financial resources, for instance, often hear more words spoken each day and build bigger vocabularies from an early age than low-income children.
Living in poverty often means dealing with constant stress, and Pawloski illustrated how that can influence brain activity. Stress factors include everything from not having enough to eat to not being able to take part in school activities or other programs because of cost. Even something as simple as a teacher scolding a student for not bringing the right school supplies can exacerbate stress.
Intense stress can reduce your measured IQ, she said, adding that it affects physical and mental health, and the ability to pay attention.
She said that being born into or living in poverty does not mean children can’t improve and develop over time. That’s where the church community can step in, she said, to help kids access resources they might not have at home.
That help could take many forms, she said, by donating school supplies and money to help students participate in school activities or books and conversation.
“One thing we all can do is find a way to interact,” she said. “It can be as simple as somebody volunteering to go in and read with kids, help them grow that vocabulary.”
Faith communities can help relieve stress on poor families by helping parents with transportation or medical costs, or finding ways to teach students organizational and communication skills they might not have.
“The problem for many of these kids is not a lack of love, it’s a lack of resources,” she said. “If you change the child’s experience, you change the brain. Environment matters ... We have to be the touchstone for kids in poverty.”
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GREER -- Even a Catholic bookstore isn’t safe from crime.
St. Benedict’s Catholic Store was the victim of a burglary sometime during the early morning hours of Oct. 16.
Someone broke into a back window of 900 West Poinsett St., headed straight for the office and stole containers of change and small donations for things like coffee, said Kipp McIntyre, who owns and runs the store along with his wife, Stephanie. The thieves left with no more than $40.
“They were so quick there was a line of nickels and dimes strewn around the back yard and into the neighboring yard,” McIntyre said. “It was mostly rolled coins, dimes and nickels.”
No religious objects were disturbed, damaged or taken. St. Benedict’s carries books and Bibles as well as statues, jewelry, rosaries and other items.
“There was nothing else out of place,” he said. “What we consider a miracle is there was a statue of the Blessed Mother wearing a lace mantilla not inches from the window that was smashed. There was glass all across the store and the statue was not touched.”
The incident took place less than a week after the store’s two-year anniversary. It opened on Oct. 10, 2012, a result of the couple’s mutual vision to help more people learn about the faith.
So far there are no suspects, but local police are still investigating.
Community outreach has been part of St. Benedict’s mission since it opened, and the McIntyres have been moved by an outpouring of support and sympathy. Local people stopped by to check on them and also helped with donations to repair the estimated $1,000 cost of fixing the window, which has already been replaced.
“The experience has helped us carry on the community conversation about what it means to be Catholic today,” Mr. McIntyre said. “We live the Gospel and we try everything we can to help folks see in us the tangible benefits of being a practicing Catholic.”
Many people who stop by are outraged that thieves would target a religious store, but the owners are urging everyone not to be angry, but instead to pray for those who committed the crime.
SOUTH CAROLINA—People who have joined the priesthood or entered religious life are typically encouraged to do so by at least three people, according to a study conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.
“When three or more people encourage someone to consider a religious vocation, he or she is far more likely to take serious steps toward answering that call,” said Father Shawn McKnight, USCCB’s executive director of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
So if you know someone who may have a calling to consecrated life, don’t hesitate to tell them and support that potential — you could be the difference in someone choosing to become a priest, brother or sister.
He said it is amazing how many students are never asked that question, even in Catholic schools.
“It’s surprising how many students there are, even in college, who haven’t heard that word — and they’re Catholic — and they haven’t heard of vocations,” Gaeta said.
So talk to your children, talk to your students, talk to the kid sitting next to you in church.
It is just one of many things people can do to support vocations.
It’s also important for youth to see priests and religious sisters as real people, so encourage your children to ask questions and talk to their pastor about his own childhood and how he followed God’s call, Gaeta said.
In addition to nurturing the discernment process, Gaeta said the diocese’s seminarians also need support.
There are currently 12 men engaged in the process. Read their profiles at www.CharlestonVocations.com and say a personal prayer for them.
“Praying for them is the No. 1 way to provide support,” Gaeta said.
He also encourages people to write letters to the seminarians, noting that their addresses can be found on the website.
Another suggestion from the USCCB advises each person to reflect on their own vocation and strengthen their personal relationship with Christ, and educate young people about the importance of silent prayer and taking the time to truly listen to God’s voice in our hearts.
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Fall Craft Market
CHARLESTON—St. Joseph Church, 1695 Wallenberg Blvd., will host its Fall Craft Market on Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission and parking free.
MOUNT PLEASANT—St. Benedict women’s group will hold a craft fair Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Oct. 26 from noon to 4 p.m. at 950 Darrell Creek Trail.
Walk for Life
Religious freedom speaker
CHARLESTON—KrisAnne Hall will speak at the Pauline Books and Media Center on Nov. 8 from 1-3 p.m. on the U.S. Constitution and the fight for religious freedom. Free. Refreshments will be served. Call, (843) 607-2705.
Oyster Roast and Chili Cook-Off
SUMMERVILLE—The Summerville Catholic School Father’s Association will host an Oyster Roast and Chili Cook-Off school fundraiser on Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. at 226 Black Oak Blvd. Tickets: $20 each, or $30 a family up to four. May be purchased at the gate, or call the school, (843) 873-9310.
Homes for the Holidays
BEAUFORT—The Homes for the Holidays tour, benefiting St. Peter School’s tuition assistance fund, will be Nov. 22-23. Six private homes on Distant Island will be decorated by local designers. Tickets: $25. Purchase at the event, participating businesses or St. Peter. The Nov. 21 gala, “A Night Under the Stars,” includes dancing, a silent auction, and catered meal. Gala tickets: $75 each. Call (843) 522-6510.
Talk on Magnolia Cemetery
Notre Dame Club golf outing
Cardinal Bernardin lectures
COLUMBIA—Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, writer and lecturer, will speak on the “Uncommon Search for Common Ground” on Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at the USC Law School auditorium as part of the 15th annual Joseph Cardinal Bernardin lectures. Free, open to the public.
Cardinal Newman open house
Trip to Billy Graham Library
COLUMBIA—St. Joseph Senior Life Group will host a bus trip to Charlotte to visit the Billy Graham Library and Museum and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens on Dec. 12. Cost: $80, includes bus, admission, meal and gratuity. Deposit of $40 due by Oct. 31. Registration: Sister Julienne Guy, (803) 540-1901.
Single, Single Again
St. Peter School info session
Knights yard sale
AIKEN—The Knights of Columbus will hold a yard sale Nov. 7-8 from 8 a.m. to noon at 1003 Spaulding Drive.
St. John Neumann gala
COLUMBIA—St. John Neumann will host “A Silver Celebration” on Nov. 8 from 6-10 p.m. in the gym. Cost, $35 each, or $100 for two tickets and entry into free tuition drawing. Includes live and silent auction, food and music. Call (803) 788-1367 or visit www.sjncatholic.com.
Arts and crafts festival
PAWLEYS ISLAND—Precious Blood of Christ women’s club will host their arts and crafts festival Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parish center, 1633 Waverly Road. Features crafters, food and used book sale. Call (843) 237-3428.
‘Crafting by the Sea’
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH—The Crafters & Quilters of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 1100 Eighth Ave. N. , will hold “Crafting by the Sea”on Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 15 from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Featuring crafted gifts and eat-in or take-out foods.
CONWAY—The St. James ladies guild will hold its annual rummage sale Nov. 1 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Founders’ Center, 1071 Academy Drive.
St. Anthony School open house
GREENVILLE—St. Anthony of Padua School will hold its open house for K-3 through sixth grade on Nov. 11 from 3-7 p.m. Tour the school, ask questions, and meet faculty and staff. Call (864) 271-0167.
Holiday Craft Sale
EASLEY—St. Luke Church, 4408 S. Carolina 86, will hold its Holiday Craft Sale on Nov. 8 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. All items are handmade.
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