St. Frances Academy in East Baltimore opened the Father Joubert Boarding House for Boys Oct. 21. The house is a stone’s throw from the East Baltimore school.
There are 11 boys living in the house, which had been home to the Christian Brothers, who had a mission at St. Frances.
The homey three floor townhouse has 17 beds, bathrooms, a kitchen, family room and study hall room with computers.
In April, St. Frances learned it would receive a $157,400 grant from the Abell Foundation to pilot the program, thanks to its successful track record of placing students in colleges.
The grant, which paid for the house’s renovation, includes furnishings, security and tuition, food, clothing and haircuts for seven boys, said Oblate Sister of Providence John Francis Schilling, president of St. Frances. An annual grant from the Abell Foundation will sustain the program.
Seven boarders from Baltimore City were homeless, evicted or in foster care, Sister John said. Four other boys, who are Nigerian, live in the house through separate funding.
St. Frances is accepting clothing, monetary donations and gift cards to fund items for the boarding school students.
Their needs call to mind Matthew 25:35-40: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
While donations are always accepted, the holiday season – traditionally a season of giving – is nearly upon us. Consider donating money or items to St. Frances, which will help these young men.
I was at the house Oct. 26 and spoke to some of the boys who live there. They are excited about this opportunity.
Sophomore Damarius Lewis, who lives in the house, likes its atmosphere.
“It’s fun living here,” said Lewis, 15. “It gets you ready for college because in college you’re going to be meeting different people. Everybody in the house (is) cool.”
To donate, call 410-539-5794.