Young Leaders Program


Over the weekend, the Leaders in Action team of YLP partnered with the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program for an important and timely service project.   For this particular project, about a dozen IWA girls collaborated with 30 middle schoolers from various local Catholic Middle Schools including St. Anne, St. Jerome, St. Martha, St. Helen, OLG, St. Thomas More, and St. Vincent de Paul. The group, pictured above, was greeted by the Refugee Resettlement program staff and received a brief overview of what Catholic Charities does to support refugees and the immigration process. The girls planned a few activities to discuss the value of our diverse American backgrounds and went through a simulation experience of what it would be like to be a refugee. They then worked together to make welcome blankets for the families that come through the program.  

The IWA Leaders in Action team is a group within the Young Leaders Program that creates programming and experiences to help teach local middle school students to put leadership skills into practice at an early age. 

Group CrawfordCoffee

Incarnate Word Academy’s Leading with Business class made a bold promise this year: plan, create and run a small business and donate 100% of the profits to San Francisco Nativity Academy, a Southwest Houston school serving exclusively low-income students. Last week, 24 students fulfilled their promise by presenting a check for $1400 to Matthew Garcia-Prats, Principal of San Francisco Nativity Academy – just in time for Christmas.

Leading with Business students collaborated to create a student-run business, “Crawford Coffee Company,” named for the street their school has stood on for 144 years.  A fresh take on a coffee shop, Crawford Coffee Co. operated three mornings a week for the past 3 months.  Students held all leadership roles in the company, and made strategic decisions for Marketing, Sales, Operations, Human Resources and Finances.  Director Charles Kafoglis knew it was essential for the girls to open a real-life business: “In leadership and business, class knowledge only goes so far.  A real life business, with real goals (to help fund San Francisco tuition), and risks is essential in moving students from rote knowledge to inspiring possibilities.  The business sparks their imagination in a way a class environment cannot.”  For example, to encourage continued purchasing, the students of CCC created a rewards loyalty program to boost sales and funds for San Francisco Nativity School.

Unity Community”

Partnering with St Dominic’s Nursing Home, this group aims to build connections between IWA students and the elderly. Their hope is to spread joy to the residents while educating IWA students on the community around them. They will be hosting a Christmas Party the evening of Dec 1st for the residents at the Assisted Living Facility. Their daring destination is to continue this project next semester as a service club for IWA.  Student Leaders: Gigi Eaton, Xurong Watson, Ave Brendgord, Isabel Smith, Rachel Duarte, Julia Rodriguez

“Spa Day”

These girls will be working with Magnificat Ministries to put on a Spa Day for the women residents. Magnificat owns a number of homes for homeless women, allowing them a space to get back on their feet. The girls hope to bring a sense of dignity and beauty to these women who often don’t have the resources for activities like this. They will be painting nails, applying facials, doing make-overs, etc. Student Leaders: Megan Guerra, Catherine Cuthrell, Maddie Arteaga

“Little Sowers”

In our pilot LWS class, we have a group of students working to implement a community learning garden for the students at San Francisco Nativity School. This new school serves low income families in the Gulfton area of Houston. Our hope is that we assist in the instructional curriculum through a learning garden for the school. Currently, we are researching community sponsors to assist in the creation process. Student Leaders: Rebecca Barry, Katherine Graves, Jacque Madden, Sarah O’Connor, Susannah Wilson


Our second project from our pilot class is an enrichment program for the students at San Francisco Nativity School. In an effort to provide constructive after school care, Nativity has students stay until 6pm. The administration is in need of support to provide well resourced programs for the students. IWA students will be volunteering after school on Wednesdays to eventually develop a physical education program centered on soccer education. Student Leaders: Arielle Alcorta, Maddie Hill, Jacque Valladares, Zainub Mussa, Bri Salang,

Baton Rouge Web

After witnessing the tragic flooding that occurred in Baton Rouge this August, our students asked, "How can we help?"  The Young Leaders Program heard this request and got to work organizing a collection on behalf of a parish in Baton Rouge.  YLP knew that the IWA community would answer the call, but the students of YLP were blown away by the generosity of the IWA community.  In just one week, the IWA community purchased and donated hundreds of much-needed items including toothpaste, garbage bags, and diapers.   Mr. Daniels and his daughter Lauren '17 (pictured above) planned to drive their truck with the donated supplies to Baton Rouge over the weekend, but collected so much that they had to rent a U-Haul to accommodate all of the items!  Thank you to everyone who donated items and modeled what Women of the Word look like out in the world.  We are thankful for this wonderful and giving community.  Praised be the Incarnate Word!