Why I Give
Why I Give
As you may be aware, the St. James Annual Fund is kicked off and currently in full swing!
“What is the Annual Fund? Why would I give more money to the school?”
WELL, The Annual Fund is an avenue for all parents, family, and faculty to directly impact the future of every St. James student through monetary gifts. These monetary gifts are vital to the Day School, as they directly support academic enhancements for our children, professional development and continuing education for our teachers, and generally, cover the difference in the actual cost of a St. James education versus the stated tuition. The monies collected through the Annual Fund provide revenues to four different categories including, specifically, (1) academic and campus enhancements, state-of-the-art technology, and instructional materials (50%); (2) Linda Chauviere Professional Development Fund (10%); (3) scholarships (10%); and (4) endowments (30%). Overall, Annual Fund giving supports our school’s mission to promote excellence, faith, and community in everything that we do.
For the 2016-2017 academic school year, the financial goal of the Annual Fund is $100,000 from all donors, and the community goal is to have 100% participation from the faculty, staff, and families of St. James Episcopal Day School. If we can reach this financial goal, my understanding is that our current library will receive a much needed renovation, turning it into a learning center with sufficient space for the students to both read and learn. Plans currently call for new interior design, new paint colors, unique furniture and seating, dry erase walls, and new technology. How wonderful!
I recently heard our Interim Rector at St. James Episcopal Church instruct me to “GIVE EXTRAVAGENTLY.” He said it in such a calm and quite manner that I was not initially sure that I had properly heard him. (Doesn’t that direction seem to require an exclamation, after all?!) Thereafter, our Day School Chaplain outlined his reasons for stewardship during a Sunday sermon. Both men were incredibly moving and led me to contemplate my own personal reasons for giving to St. James, broadly, and to the Annual Fund, more specifically.
AND, it all boils down to my love of St. James! I simply love the church and day school with my whole heart. It is an all encompassing and pervasive love. I pray that you feel it, too.
My love of St. James initially began with the long tradition of excellence. My husband’s family has a long history with the church and day school, and most of their tribe have attended or currently attend the day school or church. Gram and Pop were married in the church, as were Jeannie and Craig. Charlie and his sisters all attended the day school. My children were all baptized within the walls and love going to school each day. Mrs. Nessie was Anna’s kindergarten teacher (and still her favorite), and the fact that she teaches with as much skill, enthusiasm, and love today as she did then is a testament to the excellent standards therein. I believe that the day school imparts a true love of learning in each of our children that stays with them throughout their lives. They are prepared for whatever challenges life presents both today and tomorrow. Historically, our children are the most prepared for Episcopal High School and thrive and succeed there, as well.
Attending a Friday morning Eucharist at St. James is all I ever need to restore my faith! I have the privilege of being invited into the household of God to celebrate Him with my little ones and family and friends. I never fail to tear up. It is truly a gift that we have the opportunity to integrate the learning of our children with the Scripture. So many of our youth today are not allowed to express their faith or experience the Gospel in this unique way. It builds a foundation of prayer and hope in our children that will seep into their hearts and guide them throughout life. Mrs. Harper always comes into my head as we work to be “kind and loving, Lord like Thee!” Ultimately, I give because I believe that faith is love and the center of everything.
St. James is my community…more specifically, my family. This family is one I am so proud to be a member of, because it is in this place that we support and celebrate one another in every way possible. The Louisiana Flooding of 2016 demonstrates my point. This past year was a difficult one for many Louisiana residents, and the St. James community was not spared. Many were either directly affected by the rising waters or had close family and friends who were. We were able to band together as one and tackle the hardships faced by our family… it was a joy to work side by side with so many of you to organize, plan, and execute all that was required for those in need – cleaning and fundraising. I believe that in no other community are we able to see the value and power of togetherness as we are at St. James. These lessons will remain with our children and impress upon them that we must work together as it takes many different and unique gifts to make up the whole.
Overall, I give to the Annual Fund to help teach our children by example that we are everything that we are today and that we strive to be in the future for every one of us together.
Ashley Frey, Day School Parent & Church Parishioner