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VOL. 127 | NO. 75 | Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jeremy Park

More Than A Taste of Jubilee

By Jeremy Park

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Last week we highlighted the Salvation Army, which is working everyday to fight hunger, homelessness, addiction, poverty and abuse here in the Mid-South. This week, let us discuss an organization that is educating children in urban areas of Memphis, affording them opportunities to learn, grow and succeed in a faith-based environment regardless of their socioeconomic status: the Jubilee Schools.

Jubilee Schools provide a high school and college preparatory educational program for approximately 1,900 children, whose families would not otherwise be able to afford a private Catholic school education. The schools primarily serve the neighborhoods located in the inner city and urban areas of Memphis with the majority of students from households below an annual income level of $14,000. Beginning in 1999 with just one kindergarten class of 26 students, there are now eight Jubilee Schools: De la Salle, Holy Names, Resurrection, St. Augustine, St. Joseph, St. John, St. Patrick and St. Teresa Little Flower.

Each family pays a tuition based on a sliding scale and all students receive financial assistance. In order to meet the needs and challenges of the families, the school offers a full-day program that includes breakfast, lunch and a backpack of food for the weekend. Through community outreach, the students also receive dental, eye and medical screening. Uniforms are provided and are washed at the school if needed.

Jubilee Schools offer a unique model and a life-changing opportunity to its students and their families. The program is rigorous and requires intensive participation of the students’ families. In fact, families of Jubilee School students and their parents or guardian must sign a pledge with the school to reinforce such participation. What I personally enjoy is that family is recognized, but more importantly, expected to be a partner in the education of each child. So, not only are these schools changing the lives of thousands of children each year, they are helping to transform the family dynamic and the community around each school.

Helping the efforts of the Jubilee Schools is easy. Take one of their Wednesday morning tours, volunteer as a mentor, or offer your skills in music, computers, storytelling or art. Any financial contribution will be matched or doubled with their challenge grant, automatically multiplying your impact. Contributions can then go toward uniforms, food, scholarships and more.

This Friday, April 20, they will be hosting their 8th Annual Taste of Jubilee from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Pink Palace Museum. The event features food tastings from 25 of the best restaurants in Memphis, a silent auction and live music by Walrus. It raises money for the Blue Streak Scholarship Fund, which was created solely to fund scholarships for the Jubilee School students. Tickets are available through the Pink Palace at 320-6320 or www.tasteofjubilee.org.

Learn more about the Jubilee Schools by visiting www.jubileeschools.org.

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at jeremyp@lpinsurance.com.

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