TRUMBULL—St. Theresa Church in Trumbull recently launched its new youth group comprised of 13 high schoolers committed to serving God through charitable works in the community. Under the guidance of Karen Lannigan, director of youth ministry at St. Theresa, and Father Brian Gannon, pastor, the goal of this new ministry is to provide a venue for newly-confirmed teens to establish and lead worthy service projects that engage the entire parish community.
“Teens have an innate desire to be radical in their thinking and actions,” said Lannigan. “We want to channel that energy towards their faith, harness their creativity and apply it to service, all while nurturing their relationship with Christ.”
Over the past few months, the teens were provided with the opportunity to do just that. By spearheading two service projects to help needy children in third world countries and the greater Bridgeport area, the youth group, along with help from parishioners, found enormous success in both programs.
“They set lofty goals and met them,” Lannigan added. “They saw they could make a difference.”
In October, the teens established their first service project at St. Theresa. Box of Joy, a program through Cross Catholic Outreach, delivers small Christmas boxes packed with items of necessity such as soap, toothpaste and toys to underprivileged children in less-developed countries. By engaging all students in grades K-9 and the parish community at large, they were able to fill 1000 boxes and bring “joy” to needy children in Central America.
Closer to home, the group partnered with Binky Patrol, an organization that delivers homemade fleece blankets to ill and traumatized children in the greater Bridgeport area. After raising $650 through donations to cover the cost of materials, the youth group hosted a Binkathon and pasta dinner on December 8 where, with assistance from parishioners young and old, 100 blankets were made.
Lannigan said, “By sponsoring parish-wide service initiatives, such as Box of Joy and Binky Patrol, we offer teens the opportunity to lead meaningful service projects that offer families the opportunity to serve together.”