18 • Call 1.800.348.4732 Coming from households in which parents often work two jobs and still can’t make ends meet, the small income provides even greater benefits: dignity, self-esteem and self-respect. “That little bit of money says so many things to them — that their efforts are worth it; that they are worth it,” says Mike. Eli and Sebastian agree that the tutoring offers rewards that go well beyond money. For one, they’ve learned how it feels to be a role model. “It’s like being a coach,” says Eli. “The kids look up to me. It’s cool!” Sebastian has added assistant coaching to his busy schedule, helping with his sister’s sixth grade soccer team. “They are fun to be around, and they look up to me,” says Sebastian. “One of the kids saw me at a soccer game and asked, ‘You go to St. Mary’s?’ It made me smile.” Supporting their interlocking lives The MUSP students have formed close friendships. “We often eat dinner together,” says Haley. “They even asked to meet two days in a row before Thanksgiving break since they’d miss each other during the time off. They are very diligent about things like that.” Being around other bright kids whose home lives are challenging helps them realize they aren’t alone. MUSP provides a safe place to share their concerns and dreams. Now in their senior year, Eli and Sebastian are more confident of a bright future. Eli is interested in e-commerce and marketing, while Sebastian may pursue graphic design and video production. Both want the other to succeed. “It’s important that the students know how to support one another,” says Haley. For Haley and her students, there’s a sense of cama- raderie — of rooting for one another — that comes from mutual respect. “There’s a sense of ‘the discipleship of equals’ when we gather,” says Haley. “I meet these boys on their level, and that reflects Chaminade’s belief in how to educate.“ Being chosen to participate in MUSP at St. Mary’s brings another reward — and challenge. “They know somebody in this building chose them,” says Haley. “When somebody tells them they’re worthy, they want to live up to that.” ■ Maria Rodgers O’Rourke is a freelance writer from St. Louis. Sebastian Tomas tutors a student at St. Cecilia’s, his former elementary school. Help a student succeed You can help the Marianists fund this program. Your contribution of $150 will pay for a week’s tuition for a student at any of the MUSP schools. These donations can go a long way to help students stay in school, find meaningful careers and give back to their communities. Participating schools include: Central Catholic High School, San Antonio; Purcell Marian High School, Cincinnati; St. Mary’s High School, St. Louis; and Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, Cleveland. To make a donation, please use the enclosed envelope or contact Allison Hewitt at 314.533.1207 or ahewitt@sm-usa.org.