In honor of De La Salle Week, the Kalmanovitz School of Education (KSOE) hosted Cia and Ben Mattress at the Saint Mary's Soda Center where they showed a documentary about their experience at the St. Mary's Child Rescue Center and Secondary School in Nyeri, Kenya. Cia graduated from SMC in 2003 and returned to complete a multiple subject teaching credential at KSOE in 2009. Her husband, Ben, is a film-maker.
During her time at SMC, Cia had heard much about the Christian Brothers' worldwide network of Lasallian schools. While earning her credential at KSOE, she learned about St. John Baptist De La Salle's enduring philosophy of education. Cia wanted to experience it abroad and proposed a month long trip to Nyeri, Kenya where she would volunteer her time teaching and Ben would film the story of the school and its children.
St. Mary's in Nyeri is a highly respected secondary school (high school) and child rescue center. The secondary school has an enrollment of 440 students. The school is known throughout Kenya and recognized annually for its students' test scores and academic excellence. St. Mary's Child Rescue Center was founded in 1999 as a program to help street children. It feeds, boards, and covers the cost of basic primary school needs for over 280 very poor children of Nyeri town and the surrounding areas. These young boys are rescued from the streets and live side-by-side with the older students who provide "older brother" influences and leadership roles within this caring community. Many of the secondary school students were initially from the streets themselves, but have been living at St. Mary's Rescue Center, graduating first from primary school and then moving on to secondary school. They are highly motivated students and provide great modeling for the younger children in the Child Rescue Program.
Share Hope, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization started by Ben and Cia Mattress, is dedicated to helping children in need in Kenya have a chance to survive and succeed through education. They believe in the power of education to end poverty, get children off the streets, and improve lives. Share Hope's mission is to provide funds, sponsorships, and resources to St. Mary's Child Rescue Center and Secondary School in order to "share hope" with these children who are in great need.