Call it divine intervention this past summer when 14-year-old Adrienne Usher had an email answered by Armando Carvalho, the second-year principal of Divine Saviour Elementary School in northeast LA.
The Pasadena teenager who grew up attending Catholic schools was looking for a way to make an impact in her community as she awaited the start of her sophomore year at Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City.
“As someone who values giving kids a good education, I realize what I have been fortunate to have,” said Adrienne, who attended St. Philip The Apostle School and Mayfield Junior School near her home.
“I realized from Catholic schools they set you on the straight and narrow, not just with a great education but also a set of morals they instill in you.”
It was a friend of Adrienne’s father, Steve, who suggested the family meet with Carvalho. He invited them over for a visit that coincided with a parish potluck dinner.
Adrienne asked what help was needed. Carvalho gave her some ideas and showed her around.
The result was the simple act of launching a GoFundMe campaign called “Dollars for Divine,” with a goal to raise $25,000 for student scholarships to impact the 2019-20 school year. The fundraiser remains open for donations.
She admitted she did not know much about Divine Saviour, a small K-8 parochial school just over the hill from Dodger Stadium.
The school can accommodate some 300 students but has just over 70 enrolled, and hopes to draw around 100 as it starts the year as part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) network for grades one through five.
When school started Aug. 20, Adrienne’s benchmark was nearly halfway met, thanks to word of mouth as well as a story in the local Pasadena Outlook newspaper.
Carvalho, who arrived at Divine Saviour in July 2018, quickly realized that with a tuition of about $4,800 a year, and a surrounding neighborhood he described as “working poor” with an average annual family income of about $42,000, scholarship help is vital to basically keeping the facility operating with some $120,000 needed annually.
“It’s one thing to just think in your head, ‘I’d like to do X, Y, and Z to make a difference,” said Carvalho. “You can try to help the environment and plant trees. But Adrienne is someone who understands how this works. She’s been out there to get others to feel the same way. It’s actually a much higher level of philanthropy that I wish more adults had.”
Full story at Angelus News.