NORTH CANTON Students from all 10 of the Holy Cross Academy Catholic schools have joined together with Central Catholic and St. Thomas Aquinas to collect money to send to help childen in need in Syria, a country that has been engulfed in a nearly six-year civil war and has become the home base for the ISIS terror organization
Representative students and staff from each of the schools will come together on Feb. 15 for a prayer service, to present the money and to hear speakers talk about the crisis in Syria.
President of the Holy Cross Academy Jackie Zufall said this project serves several purposes. It helps raise money, brings students together and builds awareness of others in crisis.
"Our school principals met last fall to determine a service project that would bring all of the schools together for one mission," Zufall said. "I learned that the National Catholic Education Association was asking schools to collect money to send to the Syrian crisis and I suggested it to the principals. The money collected will go to help the children effected by the war in Syria. All of the grade levels in all of the 10 schools plus the two high schools will be collecting money in a variety of ways within their school," she said.
Some of the fundraising events will include a penny drive, asking families to donate or holding an out of uniform day for a dollar donation. Director of Enrollment Kristie Cramer said the project doesn’t have any specific goal for the amount the students raise.
"Families in all of schools are very generous and give what they can," Cramer said. "Students know that the money they do raise will go to help buy blankets, food, water and school supplies. The prayer service and reception on Feb. 15 will further inform the students what is happening in Syria, all of the schools have been discussing the situation."
The prayer service and reception will be held at the St. Raphael Center on Fulton Drive in Jackson Township and Living Bread Radio. Bishop George Murray, who also serves as the Bishop of the Dioceses of Youngstown, will hold the prayer service. Afterward, the group will hear from Father David Bergner and two parents Faris and Mary Abou-Zakim, who immigrated with their children from Syria.
Father Bergner works with families in the area who are refugees, while the Abou-Zakims have children in both St. Michaels and Central Catholic schools.
Zufall and Cramer said the project brings together students in "faith, service and education."
"The prayer service provides the faith," Zufall said. "The speakers educate the students on the Syrian crisis and what’s happening to families in that region. Bringing all of the schools together for one project provides a sense of continuity and community. This kind of service project is unique in Catholic education."
Persons from the community can also donate by calling the office at Holy Cross Academy at 330-526-8366.