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Turn to Jesus (Article)

The K4J School of Virtue´s Successful Debut
Teachers and administrators in Pittsburgh schools rave about the new program.

k4j characters
K4J, which stands for Kids 4 Jesus, offers Catholic virtue programs to parochial schools.

July 26, 2009. Pittsburgh, PA. Carol Donahue Moore had a problem.  She was very happy with the Catholic school where she sent her children, Royal Palm in Naples, Florida, especially the “K4J” Catholic virtue-based program the school used.  But Carol and her family were moving to Pittsburgh.  She couldn’t take the school with her, so she decided to take the K4J program.

 “Our culture is upside down in the area of virtue, and that’s a problem when raising kids,” she said.  “They (Pittsburgh) have good schools, good administrators, good teachers, good families and good kids.  But, in today’s culture, it can be an uphill battle and Catholic schools need great tools.  I know the K4J School of Virtue can transform a school by motivating the kids to live virtue and exciting the kids about being Catholic.” 

An Affordable Program

K4J, which stands for Kids 4 Jesus, offers Catholic virtue programs to parochial schools.  Carol realized that in the current economy, starting a new program could be “pricey” for any school or diocese.  She also was aware, via the K4J National Director Kathleen Conklin, that K4J lacked the necessary funding to implement its plans to make the program more accessible to more people. 

But, Carol had contacts in the right places.  Her family runs the Donahue Foundation of Pittsburgh, and with her encouragement, the foundation, which supports Catholic education and offers the Golden Apple Awards to distinguished teachers, underwrote the effort to create the “School of Virtue.”  The new program is now available to schools for less than $600, and parents pay only $19.95 to receive 9 months worth of “School of Virtue” materials at home. 

Kathleen is thankful to Carol and the Donahue Foundation for making the funding possible for the non-profit K4J organization to create its newest product.  The School of Virtue program, which used existing K4J educational materials, offers a more streamlined and cost-efficient product, including a more user-friendly format and web-based training. 

Piloted with Successful Results

The School of Virtue program has been piloted in seven schools, including two in the Pittsburgh area. 

Carol encourages Catholic schools to
school of virtue
The program has received enthusiastic responses from students, school families, and teaching staff.
consider using the School of Virtue program. “It is so simple and easy to use, and it offers amazing results.” 

Kathleen obviously agrees.  “The schools who use our program tell us their students are more excited to go to Mass, and their parents participate more readily in the parish. Parents come to the monthly assemblies without even being asked, and they are learning more about their faith and sharing it with each other.  The overall school environment is happier.  Older students are encouraged to live more virtuously because of the example they set for the younger students.  And they are more competent at developing positive solutions to their everyday problems.”

Sister Mary John Cooke, principal at Immaculate Conception grade school in Pittsburgh, one of the schools that piloted School of Virtue program, said, “There are no more discipline problems! All the kids are so nice to each other. I haven’t had a 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th grader in my office since we kicked off the program in September.”

Mrs. Sheila Riley, principal of St. Thomas More School in Pittsburgh, began using the K4J program in the fall of 2008 and has received enthusiastic responses from students, school families and teaching staff. 

“The kids took right to the K4J program,” she said. “In the world the children face today, it’s inspiring to see the kids modeling their lives after true role models; the saint of the month. I witness daily the 4th graders referring to their virtue lanyards to determine how a situation should be handled. They cannot wait for their monthly assembly!

“In a world where children are bombarded with ‘values’ that go directly against all that we believe as Catholics, we, the ‘Adults 4 Jesus’ at St. Thomas More School, can only smile when we see that we now have a program that presents Catholic virtues to our youngsters in a manner that is entertaining to them as well as instructional!”

Program Components

The School of Virtue contains two components, a “Live It at School” segment and a take-home segment for families called “Send It Home.”

The first component includes a Principal’s kit and 10 Teacher kits.  The Principal’s kit includes nine monthly director’s guidebooks with an overview of the program, tips to implement the program and reproducible documents.  Also included is a Mission Songs CD, a scope and sequence plan, a graphics CD, a Holy Hero card featuring a saint,
three programs
The “Send It Home” component is available in three different, age appropriate Mission Kits.
contest and incentive items to motivate the students and a parent’s newsletter template.  The teachers’ kits include similar items for use in the classroom and are available for any grade level.

The “Send It Home” component is available in three different, age appropriate Mission Kits.  The kits contain nine months of motivating virtue-building materials. Each one helps children to learn a different virtue and practice this virtue through the Mission of the Month.   The program helps connect faith to daily life with the help of materials like the Holy Hero trading card, the Parent’s Perspective document, toys and stickers to mark progress on the Mission of the Month.

Learn More

To find out more about all the K4J virtue programs, including “The School of Virtue, as well as K4J parish programs, individual memberships and vacation bible school programs, go to

To view a video of young K4J team captains talking about the program, click here
To view a video about K4J in a school setting, click here.
To view a video about K4J in a parish setting, click here.



Related links

Altius Foundation
Immaculate Conception Apostolic School
Sacred Heart Apostolic School
Sacred Heart Apostolic School
Anáhuac Network of Universities
Canyon Heights Academy
Clear Water Academy
Dublin Oak Academy

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