Once a week, high school junior Tim Cook spends a day at Catholic Charities of West Tennessee as part of the Memphis Education that Works program of Memphis Catholic High School.
The agency has partnered with Memphis Catholic for 13 years, and the school sends a different student Monday through Thursday to help with various tasks at Catholic Charities.
Deacon Ted Schreck, director of work study at Memphis Catholic, said the program has been very beneficial to students over the years. “They have been highly engaged in special events planning and logistics, as well as ongoing support of the food pantry,” he said.
Cook does data entry, works in the Clothing Closet and helps in the food pantry, which is his favorite role. “I Iike working with people,” he said. “In the food pantry, you get to see how appreciative most people are.”
Tim Bartholomeo, 14, is a freshman from Memphis Catholic who also works at Catholic Charities. He believes the experience will help him in his future employment. “Just getting ready for work every day, being prepared and not being late,” he said.
Senior Adi Gonzales and sophomore Jaylon Toler also enjoy working at Catholic Charities. “The people here are very enjoyable to talk to, and I like helping others,” Gonzales said.
Toler said he has learned to always be helpful, even if the people being served are sometimes difficult. “You just try to help them have a more positive day,” he said.
The work-study assignment also has spiritual benefits, Schreck said.
“Catholic Charities lives out the heart of our faith and the work that Christ calls us to,” he said. “Our students (whether Catholic or not, whether Christian or not) see faith in action. They see the staff and themselves meet Christ in each other and in every person served and in each and every volunteer, donor and supporter.”