Greetings from Rochester!!!!
“Jesus said to them “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:34
For the past few days Chelsea, Alex, and Candie Cain have all been working at Hope Hall in Rochester, New York. Hope Hall was started in 1994 by Sister Diana Dolce. During the years leading up to the opening of Hope Hall, Sister Diana was working with students that are “at-risk” or “educationally stranded,” in different schools around the area of Rochester. Sister Diana wanted to open her own school, but the dioceses of Rochester would not give her the money nor allow her to do this. In the end, Sister Diana opened this school with her own money. And with her own time, created this school to help these students that are struggling in school.
The name for the school came from her talking with some of her students. The students that she was helping out wanted to go to Nazareth Hall, another school here in Rochester; however, there was no way they would be able to get in with the test scores they had. During the programs, the students told Sister Diana that what she was doing was giving them hope for the future. So the name came to be Hope Hall. The students that are admitted to this private school need to have a diagnosed auditory learning disability and are in grades 3 – 12.
From the minute we walked through the doors of Hope Hall, we could feel the love and compassion that everyone has for everyone else. When we first met Sister Diana, we were amazed and could see the compassion that she has for all of her students. She always has a smile and she always in ready to help anyone that is in need of help.
According to Candie, all of the children that are at Hope Hall are a gift from God no matter who they are. They are no longer forgotten children in the school system, for Hope Hall is an intentional school to make sure that these children are never forgotten. Our job while we are there is to instill the hope in all of the children in Hope Hall.
Alex has had an experience of a life time. He is going to be a teacher and being able to sit and experience this was amazing. On Tuesday, he had an experience that confirmed his teaching vocation. While helping in English class, he looked and saw the student teacher helping students with their rough drafts, the master teacher helping a student that is definitely below the rest of their class, a student at the computer typing with 2 fingers, one letter at a time, and the rest of the class working silently. He looked out over this all and felt a complete joy and he knew that if it hadn’t been for Hope Hall these students would not be there, and he knew that he was meant to be a teacher and be the hope to these students just like their teachers are to them.
Chelsea said that is it really hard to put into words the work that she has done. From the kids in her class that are autistic but is ready to help and want to help do everything. Chelsea had an experience at lunch one day, where there was a girl that asked her what college was like. Chelsea answered and said it was fun and awesome. The little girl went on to ask if she could go to college. Chelsea told her that she could definitely go to college no matter what. The little girl was so excited because now she has a dream that she can hold onto, Chelsea had given her the hope that she hadn’t had to have dream.
Our challenge is to be Christ like, and Christ called us to be teachers. What a gift it has been to serve with those who understands and believes God’s message of teaching, hoping, loving, and serving. The work of Sister Diana and her staff has made us all realize how much of a blessing it is for Rochester to have a place like Hope Hall. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a place like Hope Hall in every school district of the world?
In humility and in love,
Chelsea, Alex, and Candie