The Father George Mader Award was created in 1989 to honor organizations and individuals that encourage lay men and women to serve others in the United States and abroad. The award is named after Father George Mader, of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, who, together with his sister, Patricia Mader Stalker, founded what is today known as Catholic Volunteer Network.
2016 Mader Award Recipient: South Central LAMP, Los Angeles Ministry Project
South Central Los Angeles Ministry Project (SC LAMP) was formed after the civil unrest of 1992, when a unique collaboration of eight congregations of Catholic women religious formed. Researching the needs of South Los Angeles residents, by canvasing the neighborhood, 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.
In dialogue with the local community, the founders developed family-centered programming that has grown to include early childhood education for children ages 0 – 5, parenting classes, English as a second language (ESL) classes, and intergenerational literacy activities, as well as family advocacy, health education and services, and access to a variety of other community resources. Their programs – all offered free of charge – help families overcome the challenges of living in an isolated community with high rates of violent crime, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and alcohol and substance abuse.
Perhaps the most unique part of their program is their mission to serve women and their families through their holistic approach to education, engaging mothers and their children in an integrated, mutually supporting 3-year curriculum. The curriculum includes ESL and Parenting classes, workshops that address a myriad of topics, like self-esteem, mental health, and renters rights, to name a few. They also provide advocacy and supportive services, because at South Central LAMP, they understand that in order for a family to be successful we must address the different challenges that may affect their lives.