August 19, 2013
It started as a project to help veterans find low income housing.
It ended with a new duplex for veterans and an honor for the youth group at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.
The Father Aram Berard, S.J. duplex, a part of the Victory Duplex Project, was dedicated Aug. 4 at Another Chance House. Father Berard, who passed away Nov. 9, 2008, was the last Jesuit priest in active ministry in the Diocese of Amarillo, serving until the late-1990’s. While in the Diocese of Amarillo, he was active with Another Chance House.
The work on the Father Berard duplex earned the St. Thomas Youth Group Philanthropic Group of the Year—Youth Category honors by the Panhandle-Plains chapter of the Society of Philanthropic Professionals.
Fundraising for the Berard duplex began last November, when four of the youth spoke at all four weekend Masses, then manned the tables after Mass to collect donations.
“The majority of the funding was collected over the period of three weekends and some other donations continued to come in after that,” said Duane Ripperger, who coordinated the project and whose son Daniel worked on the project. “The youth raised approximately $30,000 in cash and $22,000 in material and professional service donations made by parishioners and others that heard about the project.”
But the youth were still short on funding, so Ripperger asked businesses for donations. He also teamed up with Joel Hogue to submit applications to a number of local charitable foundations. Three of those foundations—the Mary E. Bivins Foundation, the Amarillo Area Foundation and the Roberts-Balliett Foundation, provided significant donations to complete the funding of the project.
“My motivation for coordinating this project was to show the youth that by working together, they can accomplish great things, things way bigger than they could do on their own,” said Ripperger. “I also believe that we will only ever know the tip of the iceberg on how this will impact those involved. We know it will have a tangible effect on the men that live there and it will be a blessing in their life to have a clean affordable home. God will multiply these blessings a thousandfold when we think about the impact this project has on others, what it will encourage these youth to do for others in the future, how it will inspire those who donated money, time and materials for a worthy cause, and how it touched the hearts of so many to want to be involved.”
Find out more about Another Chance House online at www.anotherchancehouse.org.