St. Joseph’s Academy is the recipient of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award from the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. SJA was among the organizations and individuals honored at the National Philanthropy Day awards luncheon on November 6 at the Renaissance Baton Rouge.
SJA President Jan Rhorer Breen and student body President Anna Reese Couhig accepted the award on the school’s behalf.
Nominated by Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, the Academy was recognized for its culture of service, particularly its annual Geaux Pink volleyball matches to raise funds to support breast cancer awareness and the local fight against the disease. In addition to the on-court competition, Geaux Pink efforts include a week of student competitions, raffles, bake sales and pink t-shirt sales. Since 2009, SJA has raised more than $75,000 to support Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.
“When it comes to giving back, one school stands above its peers,” according to the letter of nomination submitted by Mary Bird Perkins. “Since its founding 150 years ago, service has always been a key component of St. Joseph’s Academy’s culture and curriculum. However, students strive to go above and beyond the written requirements to make a difference through volunteering and philanthropic support.”
SJA was also honored for its support of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Over the years, the Academy has incorporated food drives into numerous school activities. Students also volunteer their time at the Food Bank. In the past three years, the school has collectively donated more than 700 hours in service, sorting and packing items in the warehouse. Individual students also volunteer countless hours of time. Additionally, Academy students donate food to help feed the hungry. Over the past three years, more than 76,000 pounds of food have been donated, providing the equivalent of 63,600 meals.
In the Food Bank’s letter of support for SJA’s nomination, Senior Vice President of Development and Philanthropy Charlene Guarisco Montelaro said the Academy’s young women have been strong supporters for years. “St. Joseph’s Academy students truly live the values of love, justice and service to their fellow neighbor by donating their time and resources to the food insecure so that no one goes hungry,” she said. “They are the embodiment of the true meaning of philanthropy.”
In addition to Breen and Couhig, SJA was represented at the luncheon by seniors Julia Welsh, Kate Michel, Hannah Mistric, Derquisia Spears and Peyton Smith, Mission Advancement Director Meg Gerald, Athletic Director Dorinda Beaumont and volleyball coach Sivi Miller.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt