Teenagers are often referred to as a group of self-absorbed, self-serving and apathetic youth aimlessly traversing through life. This generic, vague description of the future leaders of our country might not be fair or even accurate … especially if that teen is a member of Fidelis or Fraternus of South Lafourche.
The mission of the three-year-old Fidelis of South Lafourche is to mentor girls into virtuous Catholic women.
This Fidelis chapter is a community-based program for young women age 11-18 in grades 6-12.
The local Fidelis chapter is coordinated by a team of volunteer women from the four Catholic parishes of South Lafourche who organize and implement the program and serve as mentors. The women mentors come from Larose, Cut Off, Galliano and Golden Meadow and mentor 40 young women in the chapter.
Boys are mentored into virtuous Catholic men through Fraternus of South Lafourche. The Fraternus chapter started nearly five years ago and has approximately 25 male mentors guiding 40 young men enrolled in the program.
Both Fidelis and Fraternus groups meet weekly on Sunday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the course of the school year behind the St. Joseph Catholic Church at the Recreation Center in Galliano. It’s part religion class, part church youth group and part classroom, but you wouldn’t recognize the two-hour gathering as such. Nikki Pitre is a volunteer mentor with the Fidelis chapter and explains the Sunday meeting components.
“We have a half-hour of social time where the kids mingle and interact. They enjoy the social time both the boys and girls together,” she said.
After the social interaction, the boys and girls separate.
“We then play some type of game. We then usually watch a movie clip that pertains to the week’s lesson. We break out into smaller groups and talk about the week’s lesson and how it pertains to us,” she said. “This doesn’t replace religion class or a church youth group,” she noted. “We are a mentoring group and our obligation is seeking holiness.”
The Fidelis and Fraternus programs are administered through the Catholic churches and originated in Pensacola, Florida, but has quickly began to spread throughout the United States. The program has set weekly lessons that the women and men administer to the youth. Also included is a weekly challenge … homework of sorts.
“This week’s challenge was to identify something good that we could be doing that we currently don’t do,” says Pitre. “It helps put things into perspective. We try not to answer the questions for them but mentor and guide them based upon what God tells us.”
“We are a resource to help kids to do things for the right reasons,” she says. “We as mentors don’t know more or know better, we just want to help our kids do the right things for the right reasons. It’s not easy for kids to go through high school.”
Addie Duet is a mentor with the South Lafourche Fidelis chapter. Her daughter has been involved with the group for nearly three years now.
“After my daughter was with the Fidelis chapter for a year, I knew I had to get involved,” said Duet. “It’s such a wonderful group that helps to guide kids in the right direction. It’s such a great program, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Last week the Fidelis and Fraternus chapters were giving back to the community in the form of service. The group was assisting with bagging, carrying and loading groceries for patrons at the Frank’s Supermarket in Larose on the Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons before Thanksgiving.
“It’s a busy time for the supermarkets and we were happy to be there to assist people with their groceries for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Duet. “The staff, management and customers at Frank’s were so grateful. The kids that were there were happy to do it and loved the opportunity to show that small act of kindness.”
As members of the Fidelis and Fraternus groups finished loading the groceries into the cars for each customer, they presented them with a cookie. When asked how much they owed for the grocery carrying and the cookie, each teen replied the same, “Nothing is owed. It’s just a small blessing.”
“These kids are mentored to rely on God’s teachings, especially in today’s world,” added Duet. “It was evident and apparent that they were listening! They had such an enjoyable time helping others selflessly all afternoon.”
The Fidelis and Fraternus chapters of South Lafourche plan on doing the same thing around Christmas.
“We will be helping out again at the Frank’s in Larose during Christmas week,” says Pitre. “We will be there Monday, December 22nd and Tuesday, December 23rd in the afternoons. I am looking forward to it!”
“The message we have for the kids is important,” she said. “If we help them set the bar high, we’re helping to make them better people. What makes this program different is that it empowers men and women in the community to lead in and through the faith, raising young adults to do the same. All children will be mentored in some way. This program offers a great solution.”
Posted on Tue, December 2, 2014
by Marc Kimball, Contributing Writer