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Teach someone to fish and they eat for a lifetime…

March 8, 2010

By Sister Claudia W.

Give someone a fish and they eat for a day. Teach someone to fish and they eat for a lifetime.
– Chinese Proverb

We all know this familiar Chinese Proverb.  I am a firm believer in its truth.  Over the years I’ve been privileged to participate in a variety of activities to assist persons in need both academically and personally.  And, what a humbling experience it is to share in these journeys both here in the US and in other countries.  The topic of today’s blog post centers around such an educational opportunity.

Co-Worker development is a high priority throughout our Mercy Health System based in St. Louis, MO.  Through such initiatives, we have also found that many of our “entry-level” co-workers have at most a high school diploma.  While these co-workers, the majority being women, have a desire to seek career advancements, they often lack the education, skills, or confidence to reach these desired career goals.  At our local Mercy Hospital here in St. Louis, it is my privilege to journey with 21 of these co-workers, in a program such as this.

School at Work (SAW) is an initiative which provides each co-worker with two hours of education weekly while they are here at the ministry.  Throughout this semester, we will cover a variety of traditional educational topics.  These will include computer skills, resume writing, and basic healthcare terminology to provide the foundation to prepare our co-workers to seek out higher paying career options.  Most importantly, the success of SAW is that it provides its graduates with the inner belief that they are quite capable to advance.  When given the opportunity and the tools to build their self confidence and esteem, these students are able to pursue new goals.  What is also amazing is how many people are already approaching us to volunteer – assist with tutoring, etc., wanting to ‘pay it forward.’  Awesome!

I encourage you to participate by checking out your local hospitals.   Or, if there is no similar program in your area, won’t you consider contacting the Literacy Council?  They are always offering multiple opportunities to help one another in educational growth.  Our foundress, Catherine McAuley was a pioneer of efforts such as the School At Work program.  Won’t you, too, consider how you might “teach someone to fish” in your part of the world?

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