All for Uvalde
With back-to-school season in full swing, the hearts of many are with students in Uvalde who were affected by the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School earlier this year. A Chicago-based nonprofit, Catholic Extension, is offering up more than thoughts and prayers, awarding 30 full scholarships to children wounded during the massacre.
Following the shooting on Tuesday, May 24, approximately 80 Uvalde families sought immediate psychological relief by transferring their children from Robb Elementary School to Sacred Heart Catholic School. In response, Catholic Extension established a scholarship fund, seeking help through outside donations to meet the demand.
“Catholic Extension is committed to the ongoing care and support for the children and families of Uvalde, Texas," said Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, in a release. "It is our belief that awarding scholarships to Sacred Heart Catholic School will provide a safe and loving educational environment to children who are suffering from the physical and emotional wounds of violence.”
The group announced the scholarships on Monday, August 15 — for many, the first day of school — as part of their ongoing support for the wellbeing of the Uvalde families.
“The tuition assistance means everything to my son and our family,” Oscar Orona, father of a Robb Elementary shooting survivor, shared in the release. “My son has gone through a lot, and still has a long road to recovery ahead. At the very least, he deserves to go to a school where he feels safe. Thankfully with the support of Catholic Extension, he will now have that reality.”
On top of the student financial aid, the nonprofit is also supporting six religious sisters who will provide onsite emotional assistance during the first week of school to both the students and teachers of Sacred Heart Catholic School. Ultimately, 100 sisters total will serve the Uvalde and Catholic communities in various capacities over the next 18 months.
Sister Esther M. Guerrero said, “Returning to school is undoubtedly a scary and trying time right now for the kids of Uvalde, however they are filled with hope. This week, our focus is solely on showing the students, parents and teachers love and support through simply being by their side. We are here to serve this grieving community, no matter how big or small.”
This is not the first time Catholic Extension has offered significant support to the city of Uvalde. Its support helped build Uvalde's Sacred Heart Church in 1906, with Sacred Heart Catholic School following in 1912. To date, the nonprofit has supported more than 1,400 church communities in rural Texas and along the U.S.-Mexico border.