Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
Almost half of all high school boys have experimented with drugs before the age of thirteen. Many will leave school before the 9th grade, become fathers or become homeless. Some will resort to anything-- begging, crime, prostitution-- just to feed or clothe themselves, just to survive.
In 1967, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. founded the St. Francis House. Its mission is to provide a safe haven and highly structured home environment designed to meet the needs of young men who, having run out of alternatives, are looking for a new start in life.
A Caring Environment
While Fr. Groeschel remains as Executive Director and is still involved with the young men, the daily activities are supervised by Joseph Campo, SFO who is the Director of the St. Francis House. Joe, the father of two sons himself, is a Third Order Franciscan and is the producer at Grassroots Films. He has for many years served as a drug and alcohol counselor, and now fulfills the role of "surrogate father" to these young men. He does all that is necessary; from overseeing homework, to supervising household chores, to personal counseling. His most important responsibility, however, is to create a loving and caring home environment to provide the stability that these young men have never known.
Nurturing Spiritual Growth
The St. Francis House teaches the young men, by both discussion and example, about the place of a loving God in their lives. The residents attend Mass together, and they pray before every meal. The importance of prayer is emphasized daily. Some have completed the necessary instruction and have received the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
Building a Christian Work Ethic
Every young man is required to go to work, school, or both, and to maintain responsible attitudes and behavior and share in the maintenance of the house, rotating chores on a monthly basis. Domestic skills, including cooking and cleaning for themselves and the house, are learned and performed by each resident. Many members of the St. Francis House help to run an emerging independent film company known as Grassroots Films. The young men learn valuable business, artistic, and organizational skills that have propelled the company towards high profile projects including a recent film commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Visit the website of the film company here: www.grassrootsfilms.com.
Preparing for the Future
The goal of the St. Francis House is to provide a loving environment to build the self-confidence, social and working skills that these young men can take into the world to become productive, caring and responsible adults.