Victory Pages – January 2011

Austin Interfaith Victory Pages A newsletter on the successes of Austin Interfaith member institutions January 26, 2011 New Member Institution: Austin Interfaith proudly welcomes St. John’s Lutheran Church as our newest member institution. St. John's has both English and Spanish worship services, and is located just south of Ben White near S. 1st street. They join St. Ignatius, Wildflower Unitarian, Prince of Peace Lutheran, San Jose, and Travis Heights Elementary as part of our Southside cluster. We look forward to our collaboration. Leadership Development – During January-March of 2011 Austin Interfaith institutions will be focused on leadership development through house meetings, civic academies, and local trainings. So far in the past three weeks over 200 leaders attended trainings and civic academies…and 30 house meetings were held with 300 people. Below are some of the highlights: Education Organizing Institute – On Saturday, January 8, 40 leaders from Austin Interfaith congregations, AISD schools, and Education Austin attended the first Austin Interfaith Education Leadership Institute. The focus was on equipping a collective of parents, educators, and community members with the skills necessary to improve student achievement by addressing issues facing families and schools. Austin Police Commander Pedraza attends AI safety action in Dove Springs with 30 leaders – San Jose Catholic Church hosted small group “house meetings” with APD commander Pedraza and 10 other officers as well as a county deputy and constable and 30 members of the Dove Springs Community. This was in response to yet another vandalization of a San Jose parishioner’s car the previous week. The purpose was for APD and the county to hear stories of crime incidents in this southeast Austin neighborhood. A follow up meeting is set for February 3, at 6:30 pm at Widen Elementary School. Chamber of Commerce official speaks at San Jose Civic Academy on Scholarships – San Jose Catholic Church hosted a “Civic Academy” on college scholarships on January 10. Access and affordability to college was addressed this past year through a small group “house meeting” campaign at San Jose. Gilbert Zavala from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce presented on financial aid availability. College affordability has been identified a pressing issue by several Austin Interfaith member congregations, many of which offer scholarship programs of their own from fundraisers. AISD Budget 101 workshop presented to AI leaders by top brass at school district – Fifteen leaders talked with Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and Assistant to Superintendent, Chief Human Capital Officer Michael Houser about the drastic budget reductions for 2011/2012. In the current proposal, full day pre-k is maintained, which was an item Austin Interfaith leaders have been advocating for. They also discussed next steps for the Innovation School project, a joint-initiative with Education Austin to partner with AISD schools. 40 leaders attend AI leadership training at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church – On December 18th, 40 leaders from Austin Interfaith institutions attended a leadership training focused on the scriptural basis for social justice and the elements of a Broad-Based Organization. We plan to offer these trainings on a monthly basis for new and experienced leaders. Next Steps: 1. AUSTIN INTERFAITH MONTHLY LEADERS MEETING – CHANGED TO 4TH THURSDAY OF EVERY MONTH. NEXT LEADERS MEETING THURSDAY, JANUARY 27TH AT 7pm AT SAN JOSE CATHOLIC CHURCH (2435 Oak Crest, Austin 78704) 2. AUSTIN INTERFAITH CLERGY CAUCUS – Thursday, January 27th, 12:00-1:30, St. David’s Episcopal Church (301 E. 8th Street, Austin 78701). Please RSVP to Austin Interfaith office as St. David’s will be providing lunch.