Arrupe Week 2019 (March 11-15) will focus on Homelessness. We have several objectives in tackling this topic. We want to help our community understand the structural factors that contribute to homelessness. We hope to give them a chance to encounter the varied stories and experiences of people who are/have been homeless, in order to uphold their human dignity and to fight stigma and stereotyping. Finally, we want to explore how our Catholic tradition calls us to address this issue, and challenges us to live differently in order to be in deeper solidarity with our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness.
Homelessness is arguably the issue that Prep students encounter the most on a day-to-day basis: on the train, at bus stops and Newark Penn, on the streets of Jersey City and their own hometowns. But how often to we investigate the why of homelessness? What systemic factors make this quiet crisis possible? What role does employment, housing, healthcare, and education play? What groups of people are most vulnerable to becoming homeless? And, most importantly, how can we bring homelessness to an end?
Arrupe 2019 will include two events for the entire school community: an address by our keynote speaker, Jim White, on Monday, March 11, and our annual Arrupe Liturgy on Friday, March 15, followed by a morning of breakout sessions. Throughout the week, students will engage with the topic through classroom activities, field trips, and physical displays. More information about specific events will become available in February.
Keynote: Jim White, Covenant House NJ
Saint Peter’s Prep is proud to host Jim White, as our 2018 Arrupe keynote speaker. On the morning of Monday, March 11, Jim will discuss his experience working with youth who are homeless as executive director of Covenant House New Jersey, and officially kick off Arrupe 2019.
Jim grew up in Flushing, New York with his parents, four sisters and brother. He attended Saint Francis Preparatory High School, where he was introduced to Franciscan Spirituality and the responsibility to serve the poor. Jim received a full athletic scholarship for tennis to attend Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. He graduated and received the high honor of Wall Street Journal Award for outstanding Business student. After receiving a scholarship, Jim began the MBA program at Long Island University.
Before starting his business career, Jim decided to “give back” so he came to Covenant House in 1982 as a full-time volunteer. Soon thereafter, Jim was asked to take on the role of Ombudsman of New York and reported directly to Father Bruce Ritter. Jim’s role of effectively working with youth, staff and administration to resolve issues led to the job of Director of Ombudsmen, responsible for the oversight of this important function at all Covenant House sites. In 1985, Jim was asked to be part of the development team of the Covenant House’s new transitional living program Rights of Passage (ROP). As Associate Director of ROP, Jim welcomed the first five young men into this pioneering program.
In early 1987, Jim made a significant career change and began working in the Fixed Income Department of Bear Stearns. After his first year, Jim became the Odd Lot Trader and moved one year later to the position of Bill Trader. In 1990, Jim returned to Covenant House New York and worked with youth while pursuing his Masters in Social Work from Stony Brook University. Covenant House President Sister Mary Rose McGeady asked Jim to take on the leadership of Faith Community and, over the next two years, Jim helped it to triple the number of full-time volunteers in the program.
In 1994, Jim was hired as Executive Director of Covenant House New Jersey (CHNJ). At that time, CHNJ consisted of two storefront operations in Atlantic City and Newark. Jim began to work with kids and staff to develop, articulate and fulfill a vision to transform the lives of the young people in the way the Covenant House mission calls us to do. He conducted two successful capital campaigns and developed a strong organization filled with caring and competent professionals. During his 12 years at CHNJ, Jim grew the budget ten times to close to $8,000,000, expanded residential services to 120 young people each night and added a comprehensive array of services through Crisis, ROP and Mothers and Babies programs. Additionally, he recruited an active and prestigious board.
Jim then returned to New York to lead the Program and Funding Development work for both Covenant House International and Covenant House New York, leading the charge of diversifying the funding streams that comprise the organization’s $60 million annual budget.
In September 2014, Jim returned ‘home’ to serve again as Executive Director of Covenant House New Jersey.
Jim lives in Ramsey, NJ with his four children Morgan, Conor, Reilly and Brady.
More than 30 breakout sessions will allow the community an opportunity to explore particular facets of homelessness. They are grouped broadly into the categories of Awareness, Action, and Advocacy. View the full listing here!