Isaiah 43 Lets Its Light Shine

Posted on February 16, 2018 

Last month, Isaiah 43 Parenting and Mentoring hosted their fourth annual Peacebuilders Brunch, an event that brings the program’s staff, volunteers, participants and supporters together to celebrate the end of one successful year and share their hopes for the year to come.

This year’s event, themed ‘Let Your Light Shine,’ was attended by 117 mentees, mentors, parents and clergy from seven different parishes in addition to other Archdiocesan and community partners.

The vision and mission of Isaiah 43 is to create a community where each person has the desire and capacity to respond to God’s call to be a peacebuilder. The program provides spiritual resources and services to families, churches and communities to strengthen the capacity for peacebuilding.

YPLC members at the Peacebuilders Brunch

2017 was a banner year for the program with 23 mentors and 29 mentees participating in the mentoring program, 98 parents participating in the parenting program, 8 young adults participating as members of the Young Peacemakers Leadership Council (YPLC) and a total of 239 individuals attending the monthly Peace Prayer Walks.

The mentoring portion of the program hosted 25 mentoring workshops and two financial literacy workshops for mentees and mentors. The parenting component hosted 52 parenting sessions, which helped raise the participants’ Christian Active Parenting scores. Christian Active Parenting is a parenting program that combines Biblical teachings with real-life examples to give parents the strength and skills to raise exemplary children.

In partnership with Catholic Charities’ Office of Justice and Peace and the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Office of Racial Harmony, Isaiah 43 hosted ten Peace Prayer Walks in various New Orleans area neighborhoods.

The program’s mentees and mentors also partnered with the participants of Cornerstone Kids, CCANO’s mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents, for group activities and training sessions.

Isaiah 43 leadership even participated in two community awareness events hosted by the Greater New Orleans Drug Demand Reduction Coalition.

As Archbishop Aymond’s Family Prayer calls us to do, Isaiah 43 is ‘fostering peacemakers of our time’ through the Young Peacemakers Leadership Council (YPLC). This year, in addition to ten council meetings, the eight members of the YPLC also attended the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

L to R: Kristina Gibson, Sr. Marjorie Hebert, Ramona Ragas and Archbishop Aymond

Near the end of the event, Isaiah 43 staff took time to recognize some of the program’s stand-out members. Outstanding volunteer mentors included Veronica Carter, Jasmine Dorsey, Alvin Griffin, Adline Harris, Betty Stewart and Carey Thomas. Peacebuilder Awards were given to Ramona Ragas for Active Parenting and Acquanetta Spears for Ministry Leadership. Sister Teresa Rooney, CHF was honored as an Outstanding Community Partner.

As for 2018, Isaiah 43 hopes to continue growing, expanding ministries to two additional church parishes, participating in more drug awareness and prevention initiatives and adding further formation opportunities for mentors and utilizing other Catholic Charities to further support families through cross-program work. The YPLC members are also hoping to take a trip to the state capitol to engage with local officials.