Finding new ways to reach out
Buffalo, New York: April 26, 2007 — For nearly 150 years, the Buffalo Sisters of Mercy have been serving people in need. Committed to responding to the changing needs of the times with a focus on women and children, the Sisters of Mercy Regional Community of Buffalo are pleased to introduce their latest work of Mercy called the Helping Hearts Kids Club.
Located at St. Teresa’s Community Center in South Buffalo, the Helping Hearts Kids Club is an after-school program for boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 12. This newly established sponsored ministry is the offspring of a community-wide needs assessment process conducted by the Sisters of Mercy in 2005. When their thorough research was completed, the committee members found the greatest need in the immediate area was to help underserved young children.
Since studies identified the zip code area surrounding St. Teresa’s Parish as high need vicinity, the sisters targeted this neighborhood to begin their new ministry. Donations helped get the program off the ground, and volunteers staff the Club with Director Sister Peggy Conlon, RSM overseeing the operation.
According to Sister Peggy, the Club has been well received with an average attendance of 60 to 70 children each day. Open Monday through Friday from 2 pm to 6 pm, the program is staffed by sisters, volunteers and Mercy Associates. Serving the children of Trinity Catholic Academy, the program is free of charge which is made possible by grant funding.
“I see the advantages for children of all ages playing together,” Sister Peggy said. “More important, we feel that we are being successful in helping to meet a basic need for these families.”
“Our sisters and people who give their time are making this program work. One of our volunteers, DeSales Kellick, is a retired art teacher who comes weekly to do art projects with the kids. We also have Nils Gunnerson, Mercy Hospital COO, who heads a chess club on Wednesday afternoons,” she noted.
Constantly evolving and reinventing themselves, the sisters remain tireless in their efforts to fill community need. The new Helping Hearts Kids Club is yet another example of Mercy in action.
Messages to Melanie A. Griffis Director, Communications
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Regional Community of Buffalo
The 123 sisters and 83 associates of the Buffalo regional community of the Sisters of Mercy are part of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, which comprises 4,515 sisters who serve in North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Guam and the Philippines. More than 2,800 associates, several Companions in Mercy, over 600 Mercy Volunteer Corps alumni, and hundreds of co-workers in Mercy-sponsored ministries and institutions also share in our mission to help people who are poor, sick and uneducated while following the example of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy.
Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2008, the Sisters of Mercy, Regional Community of Buffalo, sponsor Mount Mercy Academy, a private secondary school for young women in Buffalo; Trocaire College, a private Catholic two-year community college in Buffalo; the Speech Center serving clients with speech and/or language disorders; the Altar Bread Ministry, a distribution center serving the churches of Western New York; the Helping Hearts Kids Club, an after-school educational program for young children; and the Warde Center, an educational and support program for persons seeking their high school equivalency certificate. The Regional Community is also a co-sponsor of Gerard Place, Catholic Health East and the Catholic Health System of Buffalo.
In addition, the Regional Community of Buffalo has ministries in the Philippines, including the sponsorship of Mercy Junior College (K-12), Mercy Community Hospital, Mercy Mobile Health Clinic, and McAuley Center, which provides safe housing for abused women and girls.