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Immaculate Conception, Nativity
Youth program expands to fourth, fifth graders

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)


A new grade school level of the To Heaven’s End Youth Program has been established at Nativity and Immaculate Conception Churches in Sioux City.

This new program is for fourth and fifth graders and the other youth programs are for high school and middle school aged students.

According to Sam Hacker, youth minister at Nativity and Immaculate Conception in Sioux City, she was approached by Madi Cramer and friends who were asking her why they couldn’t have a program of their own.

“Madi’s mom, Jenny, was in my high school program and told her the fun and interesting involvement they had, plus saw pictures of what they were able to do. Why did they have to wait until high school?” explained Hacker, who talked to several parents. “They said, ‘Let’s get going. The students become so busy in high school with all the programs and activates they have.’ I and the parents wanted them involved at an early age to let them know the doors are opened.”

She is excited to have support from Father Armand Bertand, pastor at Immaculate Conception, Father Steven McLoud, pastor at Nativity and the parents. Bette Still, along with others, volunteer their time so all three youth programs can run at the same time in various locations.

“Without that backing your programs go nowhere,” said Hacker.

In February about 52 students attended the first meeting in which the students made care packages for nursing home residents.

“I know that numbers change with all the activities and family things going on,” acknowledged Hacker. “We felt this was necessary to start in order for our younger students to get a feel of the importance of the church and their roles in the church at their age.”

The next planned activity is watching a movie with the theme of helping others.

“We have purchased books for their use that lets them reflect on the month’s activities, what they did well and what can they improve on,” said Hacker. “We will be participating in the Morningside Days Parade as well as visit the Queen of Peace.”

Madi Cramer, a fourth grader from Nativity Parish, likes meeting new people from other schools through the youth program.

“I decided to take part in the youth program to learn more about my faith,” she said. “I want to be able to take part during Mass. I learned from my mom all the great things they got to do when she and her friends were in it (To Heaven’s End Youth Program).”

Cramer added she is glad Hacker started this program because “my friends and I are getting to do more things with our faith.”

Immaculate Conception fifth grader, Braedyn Bentson, is participating because he wants to get involved with his church. He likes helping out, creating items for the nursing home, working dinners and “making lots of new friends.”

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