Learning and Loving Education Center
16890 Church Street, Building 16
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
September 17, 2020
Dear Presentation Sisters and Associates,
I would like to provide a follow-up to the letter telling of the Learning and Loving Education Center’s closing. The following quotation is attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, a window opens.” Biblically, this quote says, “When the Lord closes one door, He opens a window.”
We definitely feel the sadness of the closing of the doors of the Center. Twenty-seven years of ministry, of following in Nano Nagle’s footsteps, are difficult to see ending. The immigrant women and their children served here are very special, inspirational, courageous, and kind. We at the Center did not want to shut them out, so we have opened a window. Here is what has been happening:
Three staff are staying on until October 31 in order to ensure a bridge between the Center and future endeavors. There is a special task force that is creating a transition pathway forward. This committee of board members, staff and teachers have conducted surveys with our students to find out what needs they might have, if they were planning to do further education, and if inadequate technology would make distance learning a hardship. Of the 170 women enrolled at the Center last year, we heard from about 120 of the students.
We have begun to address the personal needs of students: we helped with partial rent money, we have gift cards available for the women to buy needed supplies, clothing, food, and school supplies for their children. Some of these gift cards came from a request for an Easter Egg Grant from the community. The Morgan Hill Community Foundation also provided emergency funds for meeting the women’s needs.
To move forward with our transition pathway, we requested that five of our foundations (with whom we had applied for grants) allow us to re-direct the purpose to this transition process. All five graciously responded affirmatively. We are very grateful to the Bella Vista Foundation, the Sunlight Giving Foundation, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the BVM Sisters of Charity Ministry Fund, and the Rademakers Family Foundation for their interest in, care of, and support for our families. Their funding allowed us to purchase Hotspots for internet access, provide iPads or tablets; purchase textbooks and workbooks; provide other supplies such as binders, paper, pens and pencils; pay the testing fee for the GED students; provide preschool educational boxes for the children who would have been in our preschool this year. We have been able to provide three scholarships to Gavilan College this year from a special scholarship fund. Over the years sixteen scholarships have been offered to our students.
And how have our women found this new window of opportunity? They, of course, are very saddened by the Center’s closing. They considered this as their second home and enjoyed meeting others and making new friends and supporting one another. Right now we have about 50 women enrolled in either
Gavilan College or the Morgan Hill Adult School. Some women are too overwhelmed to continue their own studies right now, as their school-aged children are doing distance learning at home. Others have found employment. We are trying to meet all of their needs as best we can. One of our staff and one of the board members are starting to hold weekly Zoom meetings for any of the women interested in keeping contact with one another. We not only want the “learning” part of the Center to carry on, but also the “loving.”
The next challenge is to clear out the Center. Thanks to Sister Pat, we will be giving much of the preschool furniture and learning belongings to First5 of Santa Clara County. In the next few weeks they will be choosing and picking up these articles. We also will be putting out all types of equipment, decorations, and other articles for the women and others to take.
So you see, the door closing is October 31, but the window opening will go on in the lives of our women and children. Thank you for your support and for your prayers.
Parker Palmer writes, “As often happens on the spiritual journey, we have arrived at the heart of a paradox: each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up.” May this closure of the Center be more than just an ending; may it be a beginning of a new world of opportunity. Let us pray for each other and especially for our people of the Center. At every door that opens and closes, let us remember that our God accompanies us – always.
With love and deep gratitude,