Our Way to H.O.P.E



“Fun, Smiles, Cheerful, Happy, Visiting families,  well-planned, Musical, Face-Painting, picnic with hamburgers, French fries, lemonade, iced tea, water, distribution of school backpacks with school supplies and prayer books- These are some of the words that popped into my head after I returned from Pennington Park Pavilion in Paterson, New Jersey on Sunday, August 28, 2016.

Karen Pena, a graduate of Mary Help of Christians Academy is the president of the non-profit organization “Our Way to H.O.P.E.” She and her committee including her daughter, planned a wonderful event and Family Day to distribute nice gifts for Back to School: school supplies and new backpacks to some children from Paterson, NJ.

When I arrived to see if I could be of any help, the families were eating lunch- hamburgers and French fries, lemonade, iced tea and water. Some very enjoyable music was playing in the pavilion. I had never been to this park. The Party atmosphere was contagious and I immediately felt “The Salesian Spirit, Charisma and Aura.” Then I spotted them! Sister Denise FMA and Sister Bertha FMA greeted me with their big smiles and found a few jobs for me. I helped Sister Denise place some prayer books in the backpacks and then helped Nancy serve at the beverage stand. I met Karen and a few members of her group and mingled with some of the families. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon and experience Saint John Bosco Catholic Action. I hope their next event will be successful: a Flapjack Fundraiser at Applebee’s in Garfield, NJ. on September 17th.

I am fairly new to this Aura of Salesian Joyful Giving. I didn’t know anything about Saint John Bosco, Mother Mazzarello or the Salesian Sisters until six years ago. I attended a “Day of Prayer” at Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon, NJ sponsored by the Salesian Cooperators. My life changed forever on that day and a void in my spiritual life that I had endured for years was filled. Now I am a Salesian Cooperator. I made my Promise in 2012. It is never too late to get on the “Good Ship Salesians!” I am almost 75 years old!”


Kathleen Dubbels

Salesian Cooperator


“Our Way to H.O.P.E.’s Back to School event on Sunday, August 28 was a huge success. We distributed 106 bookbags to the needy children of Paterson who are part of Oasis and Father English. Thank you to our sponsors TD Bank, Wells Fargo, Dairy Queen, Fabian theatre, and Checkers. Thank you to our volunteers Sister Denise Sickinger, Sister Mary Bertha, and the Board of Directors: Lauren Mantari, President, Khristine Micaela, Vice President, Nancy Lorenzo, Treasurer, Mirko Corrales, Website designer, and finally to my right hand and the one who always supports everything I do Ciro Callegari, Public Relations. Thank you for all their hard work and dedication. We had activities, face painting, food and prizes for the children. Everyone had a blast.”

Karen Peña, Inspiration behind Our Way to H.O.P.E.


Thank you to you, Karen Pena, for your leadership and guidance. It was your vision to start the Organization to empower the youth in Paterson by giving the kids the supplies needed to succeed in school… Well done.!

Ciro Callegari


Congratulations, Karen, and all who made the day a great success! Blessings and prayers on everyone – from the littlest toddler to the “most mature”!  Thanks for giving me the chance to speak with the children about how much God and Mary love them!  It was wonderful to see how attentive and interested both they and their families were.

To all Salesian Family members out there – we can be very proud of these 4 MHCA Past Pupils who took it upon themselves to create, organize, and run this day and all that went into preparing it. They have a fundraiser coming up soon on September 17, 2016, 8 to 10 AM, at Applebee’s in Garfield, 186 Passaic Street, 07026.  Spread the word and lend them support!

Sr. Denise Ann Sickinger, FMA


SALESIAN FAMILY: Let’s get a discussion going on this on our Bulletin Board page.

Check out their website: http://www.ourwaytohope.org/


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