Dolores Mission Breaks Ground on Expansion

August 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Dolores Mission on Gless Street in Boyle Heights is more than just a church and elementary school, it’s a long time institution that serves as a center of community activism on issues ranging from crime and environmental justice, as well as education and spirituality.

Homeboy Industries, a nonprofit group that helps gangs members transition out of the life through job training and other resources, was started at Dolores Mission. Last week, the campus was the launching point for a peace march during the annual observance of National Night Out.

At its core, Dolores Mission is dedicated to improving outcomes for the area’s low-income children. On Monday, the Catholic school broke ground on a new 6,500 sq. ft., two-story school facility, the parish’s pastor, Father Ted Gabrielli, said will open new opportunities to serve more students and lift more families out of poverty.

Students, teachers and friends of Dolores Mission in Boyle Heights help break ground on a new facility to house more students. Los Angeles council man Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago were among those taking part in the ceremony. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

Students, teachers and friends of Dolores Mission in Boyle Heights help break ground on a new facility to house more students. Los Angeles council man Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago were among those taking part in the ceremony. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

“…This building project becomes a beacon of hope” for the communities we walk with in good times and bad, Gabrielli said during a groundbreaking ceremony attended by members of the parish, students and their families, and local elected officials.

The parish and TK (transitional kindergarten) through 8th grade school is operated by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The school primarily serves families living in the Maravilla, Ramona Gardens and Pico Gardens housing projects that surround the campus. Of those families, nearly 70 percent earn less than $24,000 a year and 94 percent of students qualify for a free or reduced breakfast and lunch program.

The expansion allows the school to open new classrooms for early education. Plans include two new classrooms for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten. There are also talks about a playground, meeting space for parents and youth groups and office space for program administrators. The added space will allow the school to increase enrollment from 250 to 300 students.

“It underlines our belief in the children of this community,” Gabrielli said about the decision to enlarge the school facility. “We are committed to providing a quality education that not only transforms young people’s, but their families also.”

Phase 2 of the project will include renovation of the existing school building to create a library, a music classroom, and adding more technology into each classroom.

“We are serving more children in our community,” Gabrielli said. “It brings good news and hope to more families.”

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