It certainly seems fitting for Niagara University to celebrate the founding of the Congregation of the Mission.

What could be more appropriate than helping those who have never experienced the poverty that so many of our brothers and sisters experience? What could be more appropriate than mobilizing the community to transform the lives of children living in poverty?

On the 25th of January, the day that commemorates the foundation of the Congregation of the Mission, two events will mark Niagara University’s commitment to the elimination of poverty in the Niagara County region.

A two-hour simulation of poverty for those who do not realize what it is like

The first event will be a Community Action Poverty Simulation hosted by the College of Education as an on-campus two-hour experience. The Poverty Simulation will be facilitated by the Orleans-Niagara Teacher Center with the intention of promoting poverty awareness, increasing understanding of the many issues facing individuals living with economic insecurity, and inspiring local change. We hope that you can join in this evocative experience alongside faculty, staff, and administration from the College of Education, and reflect upon how we might work together to make an impact in our community.

Mobilizing the community to transform the lives of children living in poverty

Later in the day, Niagara University’s College of Education, Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement, and Ostapenko Center for Race, Equality and Mission  are co-sponsoring a summit entitled Mobilizing the Community to Transform the Lives of Children Living in Poverty.

The Summit will begin with a brief keynote presentation from Dr. Anael Alston, New York State Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement Services. Dr. Alston leads multiple programs for the State Education Department, most notably, “My Brother’s Keeper-Family and Community Engagement Program.”

The focus for the rest of the summit will be on networking with Niagara and Erie County agencies that offer programs and services for children, youth, and families facing economic insecurity including Pinnacle Community Services, Youth Mentoring Services, Inter-Community Services, BEAM-Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for Minorities, YWCA of the Greater Niagara Frontier, United Way of Greater Niagara, and many others.

The participants at the Summit will include:
1. Faculty, students, staff, and alumni from the College of Education programs in teaching, counseling, school psychology, leadership, developmental disabilities, and early childhood who need to be aware of these services as part of their own professional development.
2. Practicing P-12 educators and counselors from the local community who will benefit from learning about the options available to the children, youth, and families they serve.
3. Faculty, students, and staff from across Niagara University who are seeking to develop community service opportunities through the Levesque Institute’s IMPACT programs.
4. Elected officials, business leaders, and community members who wish to learn about the important work being done to alleviate economic insecurity in our region.

Congratulations to the Vincentian both vowed and lay for such a fitting celebration of the founding of the Congregation of the Mission!

How will you as a follower of Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor celebrate the Mission of the Congregation?

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