Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Students’ Work Honored For Seeking Solutions To Poverty

Published February 10, 2005

Catholic Social Services’ Parish and Community Ministry Program announced the award winners for the third annual Archdiocesan Catholic Campaign for Human Development Arts Contest for Catholic school students in grades seven to 12 with the theme: “Unlock Opportunities: End Poverty.”

Students used posters, poems or multi-media designs to communicate their understanding of poverty and what could bring about solutions. Brittany Brown earned first place in the poetry category with a poem entitled “Selfish City of Poverty.” One line of the poem focusing on the plight of a beggar reads: “Nothing to eat and nothing to drink, no where to live and not a place to sleep. Nothing but these streets.” Jenne Dumay took first place in the visual arts presentation with “A Job Is the Key.” Both students attend St. Peter Claver Regional Catholic School, Decatur. Each received a $50 award.

Immaculate Heart of Mary School students Hannah Downs and Kelci Garrison won second place and $30 with their poster entitled, “Lend a Helping Hand.” Third-place honors and $15 went to Darlene Miles-Finnie also from St. Peter Claver for “Stopping Poverty.”

Teachers Margaret Ann McCabe and Douglas Seanor coached St. Peter Claver students. Carmen Graciaa coordinated efforts of Immaculate Heart of Mary students. Adele Paz, CCHD intern, coordinated communication with schools and the judging. St. Peter Claver has taken first-place honors in this competition for the past three years.

The posters sparked conversation in the classrooms and on the panel of judges. Teachers, parents and committee members attended the presentation held at the Catholic Center in January. With nearly 36 million people in the United States living in poverty and the rate rising by 1.3 million since last year, students looked for solutions. Discussion of hourly wage jobs and the working poor resulted. Students portrayed ways they could assist the poor in breaking the cycle of poverty.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the U.S. bishops’ anti-poverty effort to educate, advocate for and support groups that are beginning to organize to access services and transform policies to get out of poverty. January was Poverty Awareness Month. Children under the age of 6 are particularly vulnerable to poverty. In 2003 in the United States there were 4.7 million children or almost 20 percent of children living in poverty. In the city of Atlanta the child poverty rate is over 39 percent and Atlanta is ranked eighth of the top ten cities with a high poverty rate with 23.5 percent.

Dumay’s poster will be sent to the National CCHD Office for national competition. The local contest is coordinated each year by the Parish and Community Program at Catholic Social Services, Inc.