Mission Alive, an outreach project of the Sisters of Divine Providence Associates, was started in 2009 by Ellen Lavender, former director of the Associates. Since then, each year, through Mission Alive, the Associates have helped a ministry staffed by the Sisters. They learn all about the ministry, spread the word about it, visit the ministry, lend hands-on help, and raise funds for it. Over the years, the Associates have contributed financially, through prayer, and as hands-on volunteers to the Sisters’ sponsored ministries in Santo Domingo and San Benito, Texas. Most projects span a year; however, the work at La Posada Providencia, in Texas, spanned two years.
Each project begins on the first day of spring. This year, the Associates chose the Office for the Promotion of Human Development in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Sister Roberta Grzelak founded this enterprise in 1992 to respond to the social needs of the community and adjacent towns. The Office offers classes, seminars, and one-on-one therapy and counseling that focus on strengthening parenting skills, preventing child abuse, preventing substance abuse, and eliminating spousal abuse. For more than 21 years, this program has provided help to those in need, regardless of age, from young adolescents to seniors.
Jeanne Kohser, chairperson of the Mission Alive Outreach Committee, seized an opportunity to travel from her home in Pittsburgh, Pa., to visit Arecibo and learn more about the ministry. Sister Veronica Oravec, administrator, and Angelina Flores, director, introduced Jeanne to the staff and explained the far-reaching work and accomplishments of the ministry. Jeanne noted several areas where Associates can be of financial help: the building’s security system is in need of repair and updating, clients need transportation to and from the facility, and the cost of utilities is only partially paid for by grants.
Jeanne returned home not only with a greater understanding of the Office for the Promotion of Human Development, but with determination to share her findings with others.