Homestead, FL – Happy Advent to all! The theme of waiting and hope seem to take on special meaning this year for our Homestead community. When there is a great need to fulfill, hope seems to overflow in equal measure if we allow for Providence to do her magic.

When Br. Robert Schaefer visited here a few weeks ago, just about when we were going to leave at 6p.m., a mother came in and asked for help for her daughter who is in the 7th grade and still can’t read a word. Despite the Charter School that she went to having failed her for the past 7 years, she remained so resilient by compensating for her weakness through her use of graphic organizers and other tools so she doesn’t have to read in the other subjects. In our eagerness to “help” her, we unknowingly had the adults hover over this poor girl as if she were a specimen to examine. She probably got scared away and didn’t show up for 2+ weeks, when we were waiting for her. Then one day, she came on her own accord, after we had thought that we had screwed up. Phew!

Sadly though, her situation isn’t that unique here. About half of our students are failing severely in math, and some in multiple subjects. It’d be very hard to rectify these deficits in the 1+ hour after school that we have them for, with them being exhausted already from schooling earlier in the day. As we explore alternative ways to help the students and their families, we find that our overall infrastructure doesn’t lend a hand to the work either. However, at least one thing is resolved. Special thanks to Br. Michael Andrejko in coordinating his team of tech students & alum in their Robotics Club. They visited last week to update our internet using Elon Musk’s new technology. (Amazingly, this became possible only because the Camp is deemed a “dark zone” where no company has really invested in bringing in their internet even after all these years.) And of course, upon arrival, the Central Catholic team was greeted by an unnatural Florida flood in the best way that we know how. So they happily rolled up their sleeves to clear out the backed up toilet water.

Okay, what is Providence’s work you ask? We now have an exquisitely clean floor washed with the most expensive Eau De Toilet, more fond stories of our Lasallian community, and a young girl who has trouble in reading that can now practice her phonics online when a Reading Specialist isn’t there to work with her. There is much potential for wonderful things to happen here in this underserved community, both inside and outside of the Camp. In walking alongside them in their struggles, and to assist them in whichever limited ways that we can, we find the Joy of Christmas—God among us—in turn. Thank you much for your thoughts and prayers for Homestead. Merry Christmas!

The one picture is of Buddha on the roof, installing the satellite. Another is a student demonstrating the science of Robotics to the children.