Francis in the Schools is an innovative nonsectarian program designed to strengthen the core sense of self of children facing a myriad of inner city issues. Engaging videos in this portfolio show the children’s hearts respond to the example of Saint Francis, “the poor one of Assisi”. Francis's qualities of compassion, courage, unstinting service to those in need, and unbounded love for all life are demonstrated—not simply in stories, but in the loving way each child is honored and served.
More than 7,000 children from inner-city neighborhoods have taken part. The day begins with either a musical play on the life of Saint Francis or a concert performance on themes from Francis's life. Then comes a colorful and jubilant Umbrian Renaissance-style Faire, where the children enjoy a tasty and nutritious lunch, games, dancing, singing, face painting, flower arranging, a puppet show, a beautifully decorated gift treat, and delightful talks with characters from Francis’s life.
Close to 300 volunteers work tirelessly for months to create this special “day of perfect joy”, to give these children the respect and love they are often denied, but so richly deserve. These children are our world’s future, and their smiling, laughing faces reflect their dawning awareness that if such a day as this is possible ... then anything is possible.