Published in our 2015 Annual Report.
The Arnards gather close for another family photo in front of their mantle decorated with pictures of memories made throughout the years. They may look like a typical family: Jay, Idell and their three children, Irie (15), Marley (13), and Lester (10), living in an Algiers home and active in their church parish. What is extraordinary about the Arnards is their transformational faith through the Isaiah 43 Mentoring program.
“There’s always a need for a presence that encourages your faith,” Idell reflects. When a fellow parishioner at St. Peter Clavier Church told Idell of the Isaiah 43 mentoring program, she immediately recognized it as an opportunity for her family to grow in faith and as a way to expose her children “to people that encourage them to be good Catholics.”
Isaiah 43’s mentoring program pairs youth ages 10-18 with a Catholic mentor for a one-year term to foster emotional and spiritual growth. The pairs spend at least four hours each month together, going on outings such as dinner or a volunteer project. In addition, all pairs attend monthly meetings for participants of the mentoring program, doing activities to learn more about one another and to build trust.
Isaiah 43’s other main initiative is the parenting program which provides caregivers with the opportunity to improve their parenting skills. Topics include peaceful conflict resolution, communication, constructive discipline, forgiveness, and leadership. Together, the parenting and the mentoring programs bring to life our archdiocesan campaign against violence, murder, and racism in our community and work to create a culture of respect that treats others with dignity.
‘It’s been a blessing,’ Jay and Idell reflect. ‘While we often feel fellowship with other families, Isaiah 43 personalizes the experience through one-on-one interactions.’
Marley and Irie joined the program last November as mentees while Jay participates as a mentor. All enjoy the opportunities to meet new people and build community. “It’s been a blessing,” Jay and Idell reflect. “While we often feel fellowship with other families, Isaiah 43 personalizes the experience through one-on-one interaction.”
Idell and Jay believe it is important for their children “to spend time with someone who sees Christ in them.” Marley and Irie echo their parents’ sentiments; both girls enjoy seeing life from the perspective of their mentors. “My mentor trusts me, and I can depend on her,” Marley reflects on fellowship with her mentor. “My mentor makes me believe in more opportunities and teaches faith in God,” Irie says.
Isaiah 43 enables faith to penetrate into everyday living. Idell sums it up well, “Isaiah 43 is, at best, our faith in action; it has truly been a blessing.”