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Sister Jerome's Kids will get help with college expenses

Published: Wed, December 11, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.


Sister Jerome Corcoran introduces Sister Jerome’s Kids — Mission College during a press conference Tuesday in Tyler Mahoning Valley Historical Center in downtown Youngstown.




Sister Jerome Corcoran shared her vision and hope in her new project during a press conference Tuesday at Tyler Mahoning Valley Historical Center, 325 W. Federal St.

She introduced Sister Jerome’s Kids — Mission College to about 60 or so politicians, government officials, business people and community supporters in attendance. Sister Jerome pointed out the stark facts of the challenges students from poor families face when they’re trying to attend college.

Sister Jerome said Pell grants help students from poor families pay for college; her program won’t underwrite tuition. Her project will target the “extra” expenses of books, housing, gasoline, food, clothing, unexpected car repairs and family emergencies. Those expenses often derail students’ educations.

She said the projected cost of assisting each student annually is $2,500. Sister Jerome said supporting students in need now will “benefit everyone” in the long run.

“Of the kids whose family income is $33,000 or less who go to college, only 11 out of 100 finish in four years or at all,” she said. “For those from families with incomes of $98,000 or above, 79 out of a 100 will graduate.”

But, she noted, a bigger number comes into play with students who don’t further their education, can’t find a job and end up on public

assistance. “That costs society a million or more over that person’s lifetime,” Sister Jerome said.

She categorized that situation “as a national disaster” that’s “all about income.”

Mission College is an outgrowth of Sister Jerome’s Poor, a project the 97-year-old Ursuline nun began in 2012 to help needy people. Sister

Jerome’s Poor focuses on critical needs of groceries, utilities, clothing, gasoline and car repairs. Last year, the program distributed some $80,000 to address these needs.

In Mission College, which already is underway, Sister Jerome said 12 students, 11 from Youngstown Community School, have committed to the project. They attend college, trade or technical school.

“Each student signed an agreement,” Sister Jerome said. It requires students to “obey school regulations, keep up grade-point average, keep finances in order and hold a part-time job.”

Working with Sister Jerome is Sister Mary Dunn, volunteer mentor, who collaborated with her on Youngstown Community School. Sister Mary serves as the mentor and “enforcer,” so to speak, in that she keeps tabs on students and makes sure they’re living up to the agreement.

The students signed up for Mission College are well-known to the nuns. They have known them since they were 3 years old. The students were selected, Sister Jerome said, on how they handled responsibility, their intelligence and public presence.

“These 12 are setting the pattern,” Sister Mary said.

She said six are attending Eastern Gateway Community College, one is at New Castle School of Trades and the remaining students are at other trade schools.

“Not everyone is college bound,” Sister Mary said, noting some students have aptitude in the trades.

“There are lots of phone calls,” Sister Mary said of her contact with the students. “I want to talk to a live person and stay in touch.”

Sister Mary said the students are “becoming adults” as they learn to manage time and complete projects.

“I’m here to listen, care, direct and love them ... it’s tough love .. nothing goes by,” Sister Mary said. “And I will be checking grades.”

Sister Mary said there are five A’s that the students live by — attitude, “the world doesn’t owe you anything”; attendance, “you have to show up”; academics, about grades; appearance, “look nice”; and appreciation, “we expect thank-yous for gift cards ... and specifying the amount and kind of card.”

The nuns said the project has started out small.

“We want to see how we’ll manage,” Sister Jerome said.

Three young people already are on a waiting list.


1bowlingwa(1 comment)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Here's a little secret, most colleges offer the exact same degrees at a fraction of the cost. A list of these can be found at http://www.DegreesAnywhere.com

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2walter_sobchak(2728 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Sister Jerome; still kicking ass at 97! I definitely like the five "A's". As soon as a person realizes that the world doesn't owe them anything, they will be on their way. People need help up, not a hand out with no expectations of anything, even a thank you. My check will be sent out tonight!

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3jgm820(133 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

What an example. I feel so inadequate at half her age. Good job Sr. Jerome. I completely agree with her philosophy.

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4JoeFromHubbard(1817 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Wonder why the Youngstown public schools are having so much trouble?

If the "students" would simply follow Sister Jerome's 5 A's, it would be an entirely different picture.

Like leading a horse to water, you can bus a kid to school. But you can't make 'em drink or be a good student.

It has to come from within them.

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5BrazenBull(12 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, Sister Jerome is from a different era. She preaches the "5 A's", but doesn't realize the true issues.

The first "A" should recognize African Americans. We've been beaten down by whites for more than four thousand years. Before the sisters offer us education, they should cut us a check for the unpaid work we gave our slave masters.

Another "A" should be for the Acquittals the court system owes us. 98% of black crime is because of racism and corrupt judges.

The next "A" is for Addiction. It's a fact that whites have injected drugs into the inner cities. Crack is whack, and the only reason we do drugs is because plantation owners like McNally give us drugs instead of jobs.

"A"ccusations...DeMaine was a threat to the white establishment. So the party brought in a Lewinsky to discredit him. God forbid a black man say something sexual to a white woman.

Our last true "A" is for Acceptance. As McNally settles into his role as our new mayor, we should all lay back and accept it, right? The Vindicator will delete this post because it questions the status qou. In the meantime, we should question the white devil nuns who give us canned foods instead of careers.

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6JoeFromHubbard(1817 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago


Check out the first "A."

five A’s that the students live by — attitude, “the world doesn’t owe you anything”

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7Roman(1 comment)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I have been at both the schools on Essex St. in Youngstown. At the time of Sister Jerome and Sister Mary the schools were staffed by both black and white teachers and administrators. The student body is predominantly black.
BrazenBull may not understand that 'Sister Jerome's Kids' is about OPPORTUNITY.....SELF SUFFICIENCY....FUTURE, NOT THE PAST....AND SELF RESPECT. Youngstown has black folks working in Medical professions, Education professions, Retail professions, Medical research and science professions- We have black folks in political realms, the Youngstown Board of Education, Police and Sheriff Departments, Restaurant professions, etc. ' Sister Jerome's Kids ' is a program that will ensure more children succeeding at a quality of life they deserve. The 'A' list is an excellent formula for SUCCESS - yet, adult guidance could never be thought of negatively, and that is what this program certainly gives to the students.

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