Just as Gibbons students are involved in school-sponsored outreach opportunities, so are Gibbons parents, who are working together to serve and give back to our surrounding community.
“When people talk about what makes Gibbons unique you don’t have to look any further than our model of parent engagement,” said Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82 “Whether it’s parents serving at the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, Note in the Pocket, the North Carolina Food Bank, Green Chair Project, Catholic Parish Outreach or members of DadCRU helping to get Gibbons Short Journey Center ready for upcoming retreats, these opportunities provide seamless occasions for our parents to live out our school’s mission.”
To be sure, a key goal of the Cardinal Gibbons Family Association is to create opportunities for parents to become engaged in the experiences within the school; and to make their own paths separate from those of their students. One way to do just that is through service, explains Kim Eyerman who serves as Parent Service Coordinator. She is helped in that effort by fellow Gibbons parent Malia Hart.
“Service is part of Catholic life,” Eyerman said, “it creates camaraderie and fosters human connections.” While service has long been part of student life at Gibbons, the idea was that parents should have the same opportunity.”
Over the last four years, those parent opportunities have grown from centering on a single annual event to class-specific service projects that take place each month. In addition, service projects have become a focus of other parent groups like PrayerCRU and DadCRU.
Mindful of that, Eyerman said there are now over 900 parents involved in the service program and that number continues to grow. “Gibbons parents are viewed as a reliable and productive volunteer resource by the organizations we serve,” Eyerman said, adding that “they are also modeling behavior for students.”
While the current service model clearly is successful, Hart noted that there are some future tweaks planned. Key among them, she said, is adding more weekend service opportunities for working parents.
At the same time, the Gibbons Gathers annual event, comprising a morning of family service and a parent social in the evening, remains a much-anticipated spring tradition. This year’s Gibbons Gathers is on April 13.
During the morning of April 13, some 400 members of the Gibbons community, from parents to children will serve at 19 different organizations in the area, nearly double the number of people serving and places served when the day was initiated four years ago.
That evening, parents will get together for a night of fellowship and fun at the Spring Social. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the social will be held at Cypress Manor in Raleigh, with class specific parent gatherings taking place at 6 p.m. at four different area restaurants.