Futures in Education Creates Relief Fund for Diocesan Families Facing Financial Strife Amid Pandemic

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic, Catholic Academy, Catholic Education, Catholic Schools, Education, Faith, Family, Futures in Education, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

The pandemic is causing so much pain and putting dreams at risk.

Some parents who want their children to get a great Catholic education are worried, and that’s why Futures in Education for Brooklyn and Queens is stepping up big time.

They’ve created a COVID-19 emergency relief fund to help with tuition for children across the Brooklyn Diocese.

Rosanna Guzman’s daughter Lianna and son Marcos are students at Divine Mercy Catholic Academy in Ozone Park, Queens, and Rosanna wants them to stay there.

But she’s out of work after 22 years with the same travel company, and money is tight.

“As of right now, I am unemployed. And it would financially help me a lot,” she said of the  relief fund.

“This is the first time where I have experienced being laid off, so this is something new,” she added. “It’s emotionally and financially a struggle.”

“If it means putting food on the table or paying tuition, we all know tuition is going to be the first thing to go,” Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, Vicar for Development in the Brooklyn Diocese, told Currents News.

Futures in Education has always been there for the Brooklyn Diocese. but now the need is even greater. The emergency fund already has 1,000 applications, asking for 1.5 million dollars in scholarships.

“We have over 20,000 students in our grammar schools. Most of them are in financial straits right now, so I know that number is going to grow dramatically,” Msgr. Jamie added.

No emergency fund money has been given out yet.

When it comes to testing, Catholic school students generally outperform New York City public school students in every category.

Rosanna enrolled her children at Divine Mercy because she loves so much about the school — a welcoming atmosphere with an emphasis on faith, plus smaller class sizes.

“And I see a big difference in learning. Seeing him come back at the end of the school day, and coming back with that smile and happy…just knowing the fact that the teacher has that attention with each student, it just makes a big difference,” she said of the impact of a Catholic education on her son, Marcos.

He is an “angel student,” as part of a Futures in Education program that already provides him with scholarships and a mentor.

Rosanna is looking to get $400 from the COVID-19 emergency relief fund enough to cover the rest of her children’s tuition. “It’s a great help for many families,” she said.

Last year, Futures in Education provided $7.4 million in scholarships to 5,000 students.