Monday, May 30, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Aquinas College Transforming Lives of Homeless Women

Aquinas CollegeAquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., is running courses through a local homeless shelter to assist and counsel women who are reforming their lives after "homelessness, abuse or chemical dependence," the Tennessee Register reports.

Rachel Leach, director of community and alumni relations at Aquinas College, started a partnership to offer courses with the Campus for Human Development at nearby Room in the Inn, located in downtown Nashville.  According to its website, Room in the Inn provides "programs that emphasize human development and recovery through education, self-help and work, centered in community and long term support for those who call the streets of Nashville home."

Aquinas College works with Room in the Inn to hold the course "InHERent Worth", which teaches "the art of confidence, poise, etiquette, hair and makeup, leadership, positivity and Christian-based life choice counseling to vulnerable women looking to cultivate a new lifestyle," according to the College.

"Hope Anchors," another course offered at Room in the Inn in conjunction with Aquinas, helps participants "explore art while developing self-esteem."

The Tennessee Register continues:

The two Aquinas classes don’t utilize a formal sign-up sheet, so Leach never knows exactly who’ll be showing up each day.  But, because of the friendship and trust she’s built with this community, a typical lesson might have more than 50 attendees. That can get costly when considering the art supplies and materials used in Hope Anchors, but Leach, or perhaps God, has figured that out too.

Leach’s friends and co-workers at Aquinas support this mission by making donations of paint brushes, paints and canvases.  Christine Ashbury, an Aquinas College employee, regularly contributes books, clothing and bath and body products, and also hauls in bags of donations that she’s persuaded her friends to give.

“I’ll frequently walk in to my office at Aquinas to find a bag of goodies that are anonymously donated and left on my desk,” said Leach.  “This class has really been the gift that keeps giving, and has inspired so many people to give and to think of others before themselves.”

Aquinas College is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

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