Sister Cathy Garcia, RSHM
LAMP’s mission is to provide a supportive, nurturing environment for economically poor women and their families. We do this by offering educational programs that empower women and their families to reach their full potential, build self-esteem, and strengthen mutual interdependent relations.
The vision for South Central LAMP grew out of a collaborative effort in 1992 when eight congregations of women religious joined together in response to Los Angeles’ civil unrest of that year. Researching the specific needs of South Central Los Angeles residents, they found a strong desire from Latina immigrant mothers to improve their literacy and education, enhance their parenting skills, and prepare their children for school and success in life. The RSHM commitment to this project has been steadfast since this time. LAMP is a nonprofit organization where families who immigrated from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador have the opportunity to “work effectively for their own development and liberation.”(RSHM Mission Statement)
LAMP offers a family-centered, integrated program where mothers and children learn together. While the mothers learn parenting skills and study English, their small children participate in an Early Childhood Education program which gives them a firm foundation to develop their potential in school and life. In 2010 LAMP began a Project Fatherhood program.
LAMP is unique for its shared learning environment where its comprehensive family literacy setting prepares parents to fulfill their role as the child’s first and most important teacher. Over the years, various RSHM have been involved with the mission and ministry of LAMP. Sister Mary Genino convened the religious congregations who initiated the project in 1992. Since then, an RSHM has served on the Board of Directors. Currently, Sister Patricia Connor serves as Chair of the Board. RSHM have also taught English and worked with the small children and mothers. Currently, RSHM Sister Cathy Garcia and SHM Extended Family member Luz Saucedo minister together on the site.
“I began teaching English at LAMP in February 2007 and utterly enjoy my experience working with these young mothers! They are highly motivated students. They believe that education is the key to enabling themselves and their children to develop their potential and to live full lives within the culture and society in which they now find themselves. It is always such great fun teaching eager students! Despite the serious challenges these women experience in their daily lives – poverty, unemployment, domestic concerns, immigration status issues, separation from their families living in other countries – they are always ready to start the day anew with hope and good cheer that tomorrow will be more stable for their families.
It is uplifting each day to see the women, children and the dedicated staff as they arrive. This is a work that reflects the vision of Jean Gailhac, Mere St. Jean and our founding sisters. Being part of the South Central LAMP community keeps the RSHM grounded in our call and vision today as we try to listen to the voices that have been silenced and walk with the marginalized (General Chapter, 2007).”