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Pacific Bay Caritas Scholars attend Who is Jesus at Fox Theatre

Caritas Scholars were invited to hear about the Power of Faith in Silicon Valley from the President, Brand Solutions at Google, VP Marketplace at Facebook and Senior Managing Partner at Norwest Venture Partners. Pastor Hurmon Hamilton of New Beginnings Community Church closed the meeting.

Pacific Bay Caritas Scholars Recognized for Humanitarian Entrepreneurship During 6th Awards Ceremony

On May 3rd, the 2018 Caritas Awards Ceremony for Young Social Entrepreneurs was held at La Costanera Restaurant in Montara to recognize the high school’s Caritas Scholars at Pacific Bay Christian School (formerly Alma Heights Christian Schools) for local and global interventions. Over 80 guests, including community leaders, AHC faculty/students and the student’s families gathered to celebrate the students’ work. Lance Joe, CEO and Founder of the Christian Entrepreneurs Association gave the keynote address. Former NFL player and musical artist, William Robert also performed live at the event.

Building upon their experiences locally and in the developing world, Caritas scholars worked together to identify specific social challenges and to design workable solutions.  This year, 17 Scholars implemented six projects addressing such concerns as local poverty, maternal and infant health, awareness for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, water security, orphan care, and modern slavery. Minnesota students who participated in the online dual enrollment course also developed innovative solutions to causes in their communities. Veritas founder launched the program over 7 years ago.

I was thoroughly impressed with the caliber of the students and their attitude of service to those less fortunate locally and abroad… the spirit of love demonstrated by action.  It was heartwarming to see the passion put forth into each project by each team addressing spiritual and practical needs – they’re all winners!  Thank you for the privilege to share the evening with…these bright young stars! – CEA Board Member

Pacific Bay MS Changemakers Participate in 2018 Hack the Future Workshop

Pacific Bay Christian (formerly Alma Heights) MS Changemakers participated in an innovation workshop. As part of the challenge, students were given different scenarios and asked to create products that improve society or that positively impact the developing third world.  Following the innovation process, students were able to pitch their unique ideas to their fellow classmates and AHC faculty.

Veritas Featured in You Can Be Brave Documentary

Ability Revolution Founder and CEO, Dr. Jennifer Camota-Luebke produced a film documenting her  family’s 15-year journey fighting for her son (an Alma Heights and Caritas alumnus who has an intellectual and developmental disability) to be included in society.

Veritas Founder Presents Doctoral Research at Stanford University

Thought leaders in education gathered at Stanford University to share research on emerging issues surrounding achievement and motivation. Dr. Zabaneh was amongst the educators invited to present her findings and research on the connection between purpose-driven pedagogy, student achievement and entrepreneurship.

Ability Revolution Founder and Veritas Advisory Board Member Featured on CBS News

Ability Revolution Founder and CEO, Dr. Jennifer Camota-Luebke was featured on CBS News for pioneering paths of inclusion for students with disabilities. As the 2017 Jefferson Award recipient, Dr. Luebke was awarded for her efforts to eliminate barriers to success and inclusion for individuals with disabilities in the workplace, education and in communities.

Immunology and Biotechnology Expert Speaks to Caritas Scholars

Caritas Scholars heard from immunology and biotechnology expert, Dr. Owyang about his career journey in the field of pharmaceutical discovery and research. The students learned how innovation and collaboration can be applied to the fields of science and medicine to save lives.

Veritas Invited to ACSI Regional Education Conference

Veritas founder presented local and regional educators with a game-changing approach to transformational educational praxis. Through this replicable methodology, educators were equipped with purpose-driven tools to encourage students to be successful contributors to society. As part of the seminar, the teachers envisioned even greater ways to incorporate the insights into their own classrooms.

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Educator Reflections:

“We can train our students to ask God how we can shape history through creating and innovating.”

“Brainstorming with colleagues is empowering. Love large Post Its!”

“Design challenge [encourages] fun and collaboration, next level thinking, working well with groups.”

Veritas Launches Online Platform for Social Entrepreneurs and Civic Innovators

This fall, Veritas launched a dual enrollment online platform for social entrepreneurs and civic innovators.  Through this unique, personalized approach, students from across the country will be equipped to design meaningful solutions to contemporary local and global issues that result in lasting change. Students learn how to take social entrepreneurship and civic innovation tools and apply them to systemic challenges in communities and institutions. Most recently, two Caritas Scholars were appointed as community leadership representatives.

NASA Engineer Presents Breakthrough Medical Innovations to Caritas Scholars

CEO and Founder of Liovi, Brian Lue presented entrepreneurial lessons to the students in addition to sharing the process of designing products containing probiotics for supporting gastrointestinal health. Prior to the development of new strategies and approaches in healthcare, Mr. Lue also created technologies for the aerospace, semiconductor equipment manufacturing,  handheld software, and text analytics industries. He was awarded two National Science Foundation grants to research instabilities in liquid-fueled rockets and earned a M.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University.

Alma Heights Social Entrepreneurs Honored at 5th Awards Ceremony

The 2017 Caritas Awards Ceremony for Young Social Entrepreneurs was held to recognize the high school’s Caritas Scholars for local and global interventions.  Over 100 guests, including community leaders, dignitaries and the student’s families gathered to celebrate the students’ work.  This fifth awards ceremony commenced with a prayer by Church of the Highlands Pastor, Cabot Sheley and welcome by Alma Heights Christian Head of Schools, David Gross.  Following this introduction, the students presented their project designs followed by a keynote address given by nationally recognized author and leadership expert, Skip Vaccarello. County Supervisor David Canepa, Pacifica Mayor Mike O’Neill and Pacifica Chamber of Commerce President, Victor Spano also commended the students for outstanding citizen-leadership.

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Becoming God’s Poem To A Broken World – YWAM Ministry in the Tenderloin

This Spring, Alma Heights Caritas Scholars and fellow students discovered purpose through service to others.  As the students shared meaning and hope with individuals experiencing homelessness, they were encouraged in their own calling.  Through simple acts of kindness, the students were able to minister God’s love and communicate a sense of dignity and worth to all those they encountered.

Student testimonials:

“I think overall it was….an eye opening day. In my group…we handed out care packages…people were really grateful for all the things in there and even the coffee from YWAM. I think we should have more opportunities [to help others].”

“[It was] was a great opportunity to humble ourselves and realize our blessings. I was able to see how the simple of act of hot chocolate or a sandwich and a conversation can impact a person’s day. Humbling ourselves to look at the condition of our community is truly beneficial.”

“I learned to treat everyone the same… because we are all human.”

Caritas Scholars Invited to Global Faith-based Competition

On March 31st, Caritas Scholars were invited to present their work and cause at Elevate, a global faith-based competition. Team Aquam shared their mission of providing water security for impoverished communities in Southeast Asia through sustainable water solutions. Elevate’s vision is “to elevate and mobilize a generation of bright entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders to work for the good of others”.

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Veritas Presents at City Impact Academy

On April 23rd, Veritas presented a Dreams2Reality workshop for students attending San Francisco City Impact Academy. Founded in 1997 as the first school in the Tenderloin District, City Impact Academy exists to “empower urban children and release them to excel academically, physically, spiritually and socially. To date, 83% of City Impact graduates have attended or are attending college.”

The timing of your visit was not coincidental and I am so grateful for your team’s energy and excitement during chapel and in the classroom. I pray the students continue to meditate on what they heard today and remember their true identity in Christ.  (City Impact Academy Administrator)

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Progress on Purpose – Caritas Scholars Brainstorm Technology Uses to Benefit Society

Caritas Scholars attended a design-thinking workshop to think about ways technology could benefit their project causes. The workshop began with an introduction to the process of building an app. Following this overview, the students brainstormed redemptive ways to use faith-based technology/apps to sustain and scale their interventions and to develop interactive and community platforms to benefit under-resourced populations locally and around the world.

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Caritas Social Entrepreneurs Raise Start-Up Funds at Alma Heights Service Fair

Caritas Social Entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to raise start-up capital at the Alma Heights Service Fair. Prior to the event, the students were taught the foundations of entrepreneurship, business, marketing, and finance. At the fair, they sold various items and presented their unique missions and current/future interventions to faculty and high-school/middle-school students. These include giving clean water filters to children in the developing world; providing support to local homeless individuals and families; remediating in infant and maternal health; partnering to prevent and protect victims of human trafficking; giving sports opportunities to orphaned and under-resourced children in the Philippines; and providing mental health awareness/support to United States Veterans.

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Caritas Scholars Visit the Stanford University Medical Center Project Renewal

Caritas Scholars enjoyed a visit to Stanford University Medical Center planning center and Stanford University. The students learned important lessons about the engineering, design, construction, medical/technological advancements and general information about the current/future hospital (Project Renewal) and how these relate to service to others. To make the experience more interactive, the students used virtual reality headsets loaded with recent construction footage to view the design process in action.

I feel fortunate to have experienced first hand some incredible advances in technology,  and to  have witnessed the intricacies involved in developing this new hospital, from the latest technology to the building equipment and medical equipment…I was also very impressed by the thoughtfulness, display of compassion and sympathy from those involved in this planning for the patients wanting to make them feel well taken care of in all aspects. (Alma Heights Parent)

The Lights Go On For Alma Heights ChangeMakers

Last year, Alma Heights Middle School ChangeMakers attended a renewable energy presentation at the college-prep school. Founder of Sirona Cares and recipient of the National Jefferson Award, Michelle Lacourciere, Dr. David Gross (Head of Schools) and Mr. Joseph Gross (Head of Schools Emeritus) spoke to the students on the intersection of faith, renewable energy, and technology. During the event, the students learned about how renewable energy impacts the developing world, product development, and bringing an invention to market.

Building on the symposium this spring, the students utilized the design thinking process in a ChangeMaker STEM/Innovation Workshop to develop their own renewable energy prototypes including using solar and water power.

“[AHC] ChangeMakers teaches children to reach higher and make the world a better place.” (Alma Heights MS Student)

“We can change the future of technology by using natural resources. This way we don’t run out of essentials we may need in the future.” (Alma Heights MS Student)

“I learned that helping my friends by building a robot is a good way to build teamwork.” (Alma Height MS Student)

“This is fun and educational. I like working with other people. It builds character.” (Alma Heights MS Student)

It was fun to see new ideas being generated. It was a lesson for me in learning how to ask questions but not interfere with the solutions. (Alma Heights STEM Teacher)

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Veritas Institute Partners with Sunset Youth and Ripple Effect 22 for Urban Youth Event

Veritas Institute partnered with Sunset Youth Organization and local community leaders to create a unique experience focused on empowering S.F. urban youth to use their dreams and aspirations to serve others. Stephan Gartrell, former Atlanta Braves player and Co-founder of Ripple Effect 22; Michelle Turner, filmmaker and producer of Restored Me; author and urban educator, Ashley Blanco; Kandice Love – Arceneaux, Gospel recording artist, and Pascal Arceneaux, Genentech Senior Systems Specialist, all shared inspiration and advice with the youth. Cecilia Gonzalez of RE22 also shared her college journey at University of California, Berkeley with the students. The evening closed with the youth writing their own messages of hope to be included in care packages that will be distributed in the S.F. Tenderloin during a future event.

Motivational Speaker and Author Shares Her Book with Caritas Scholars

Gina Mazzetti, author of A Shout-Out for Dyslexics: The Emotional Side and motivational speaker encouraged the Caritas Scholars to use their unique gifts, passions and talents to benefit others. She shared her story of being diagnosed with dyslexia and chronic pain syndrome and how she took her challenges and used them to launch her purpose. She also spoke about how she started a motivational speaking business that reaches over 25,000 people via social media and with her popular blog Gina’s Motivational Minute.

Alma Heights Middle Schoolers Use Design Thinking to Address Bullying

Students at Alma Heights were inspired to use design thinking to address the issue of bullying among young people. The students watched a video featuring Nick Vujicic, Founder and CEO of Life Without Limbs, followed by an innovation workshop where the students explored root causes and designed unique solutions in groups. As part of a final presentation, the students shared their team ideas with school faculty and their peers.

Octalysis Founder Presents on Gamification and Behavioral Design

Each year, transformational thought leaders share their work as part of the integrated Caritas Speaker Series at Alma Heights Christian Schools. The series is designed to feature lectures from field experts to enable students to practically apply their faith and knowledge in the service of others. Most recently, International Author and Keynote Speaker on Gamification and Behavioral Design, Yu-kai Chou presented to the entire student body on using gamification to positively impact one’s vocation and life. Chou is President of The Octalysis Group, and has been a regular speaker/lecturer on gamification and motivation worldwide, including at organizations like Google, LEGO, TEDx, and Stanford University.

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Veritas Featured on DPM Radio

Veritas featured on DPM radio, a station that is broadcasted in the S.F. Bay Area and webcasted globally. The essentiality of purpose in education, the future of America’s youth, and tips for helping the next generation to fulfill their full potential were all topics discussed on the program. Additionally, as part of the Caritas Speaker Series, it was a privilege to have DPM Radio show host, Lily Wang, share life lessons with the students.

Caritas Scholars Explore Ways to Tackle Poverty

During the past five years, Caritas Scholars have addressed poverty related issues and supported childhood interventions that involve health care, education and water sanitation. They also heard from local and global leaders making a difference. Mark and Sarah Brown, inspired the students to take action by sharing about the forgotten children in the Philippines. Chris Tiller, who pioneers transformation projects in post war conflict zones, Dr. Randy Roth (Faith Network of the East Bay) and Cesar Buitrago (previously one of the highest appointed Hispanic leaders in California), and Rev. Jim Uhey (Pheonix Project USA), all shared their life-changing journeys and work with the students.  Cyril Rayan (CEO of Resiligence), Ryan Grey (YWAM), Sarah Wilson (Cityteam), Ethan Blatstone (Not for Sale), Matt and Hayley Duerstock (City Impact), and Rebecca Robert (Unlikely Heroes) are just some of the local leaders who also presented to the students on the topic of community restoration.

This year, Caritas Scholars are taking a deep dive into the root causes of poverty through class research, immersion experiences, and special guest lectures. As the students started the process of designing strategic interventions, they heard from author and urban edupreneur, Ashley Blanco who shared her transformative experiences.

Most recently, the students helped out with a poverty experience for high-school students at Alma Heights Christian Schools.  As part of this unique awareness and simulation event, David Shearin of Street Life Ministries, shared his work caring for the S.F. Bay Area homeless and encouraged the students to translate their faith into action. Additionally, Alma Heights Principal, Dan Robinson and Pastor Scott Aughtmon spoke to the students about the importance of advocating for justice and living lives of compassion in our communities. Representatives from Ripple Effect 22, a S.F. youth centered mentorship program, attended the event with their student mentees from Immaculate Conception Academy.

What I learned today was about poverty awareness. Poverty awareness teaches about people’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter that are not being met. My thoughts on this event were that people don’t really get great things in this world. Poverty is one of the main issues that the entire world has to deal with. It does not only affect the people that are going through it, but it affects everyone in their country… Poverty can also affect their education, causing academic and behavioral problems. People in poverty will usually be more focused on learning how to survive before trying to get an education, even if they decide to try to get an education. Paying the fees for education would be a huge problem along with taking care of themselves as far as food and health. – Student Reflection (Immaculate Conception Academy)

Reimagining Christian Education for the 21st Century

In a society where student success is most often measured by test scores, how can educators make the connection between a student’s theoretical knowledge and practical application? Veritas presented to regional educators innovative Gospel-centered design thinking strategies focused on helping students succeed in school.

This class has me excited to integrate Christian innovation with design process. My hope is for students to be inspired to apply their knowledge to practical creations. – Teacher, Milpitas Christian Schools

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Technology and Human Flourishing

As the Caritas Scholars explored the exciting world of game design, they discussed how faith+ technology might be used to serve their neighbor and humanity as a whole. Through a class lecture and an immersion trip, the students learned ways innovation can redeem culture by empowering and educating those in need, rather than being an end in itself.

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Growing a Culture of Innovation in Urban Education

Through innovative pedagogical approaches, urban education can be transformed into a very rewarding experience as students learn how to turn life challenges into entrepreneurial opportunities. Veritas presented to a S.F. school faculty the topic of fostering resiliency and igniting a passion for learning by helping students develop a heart for the world.

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Veritas Conducts Entrepreneurship Seminar for Women in the Developing World

In developing and conflict-ridden parts of the world, women often find it challenging to view themselves as catalysts of positive change and innovation in their communities. For this reason, the Veritas founder presented a specialized entrepreneurship training and gave a message of hope as she encouraged the women to use design thinking to bring their ideas to reality. Tearfund Australia also participated in the event.

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Betty Ann Boeving Hagenau Presents to Caritas Scholars

As part of the integrated Caritas Speaker Series at AHC, Betty Ann Hagenau, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition challenged students at AHC to pursue justice and God’s calling on their lives.

Alma Heights Christian School Students Receive Recognition for Social Entrepreneurship

Annually Alma Heights Christian Caritas Scholars are honored at an awards ceremony as part of the Caritas Scholars Program and Social Entrepreneurship Lab. The students work collaboratively to identify specific social issues and design workable solutions. This year, the 30 Scholars implemented eight projects addressing such concerns as the needs of members of the military, social issues facing teens, maternal health, a clean water initiative for Africa, a pet rescue program for seniors in need of animal companionship, and animal abuse prevention. This fourth awards ceremony began with special music by Gospel recording artist, minister, and social entrepreneur, Kandice Love Arceneaux, followed by student presentations and a symposium featuring an expert panel moderated by Gina Mazetti, on the topic of cultivating America’s future leaders. Nationally recognized author and leadership expert, Jenni Catron was the keynote speaker for the evening.

Awards and Recognition

Creative Implementation Award : Jayme P. ’19, Karissa P. ’19, Idalis D. ’19, Natalie W. ’19, Alandra M. ’19, Michelle C.’19, Alis Volat Propiis, Individual Initiative Award : Rebecca O. ’16, Yugi’s Closet, Exemplary Social Justice Contribution Award : Matthew M. ’16, Amir L. ’16, Kariem H. ’16, Karlo S. ’16, Prakash N. ’16, Euric M. ’16, Sahil V. ’16, Hugo M. ’16, Jack R. ’16, Project Always Remember, Big Idea Award : Isabelle S. ’18, Antonio C. ’17, Prete Mere, Global Impact Award: Stephen L. ’18, Yasameen L. ’18, Rachel C. ’18, Lucas S. ’18, Aquam, Helmer R. ’16,Best Presentation Award : Kearra B. ’17, Matthew T. ’17, Adhil V. ’17, Nicole S. ’17, For a Good Paws,  Johanna S. ’16, Andrea T. ’16, Paws for Pa’s, Veritas Award for Outstanding Leadership : Matthew M.‘16, Joseph Gross Innovation Award, named for the Head of School Emeritus : Rebecca S. ’16, Project Release

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[Left to right: Dr. Jennifer Camota, Dr. Daniel Thomas, Rev. Kandice Love-Arceneaux, Ms. Victoriya Muka, and Ms. Ashley Blanco]

Caritas Scholars partner with YWAM SF for Tenderloin Homeless Outreach

Caritas Scholars together with the YWAM team partnered to bring hot chocolate, socks and lunches to the S.F. Tenderloin homeless community. The students had the opportunity to spend the day hearing the stories of many individuals while sharing food, healing, and hope with the community.

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Author Skip Vaccarello presents as part of Caritas Speaker Series

Skip Vacarello, author of Finding God in Silicon Valley, addressed the topic of faith and vocation as part of the 2016 speaker series. He used his experiences to challenge the students to use their unique gifts and talents to build up the lives of those around them.

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Dr. Seong Ho Lee meets with Veritas Founder at Alma Heights 10/20/15

Dr. Seong Ho Lee, Professor of Education at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Korea and representative of the ministry of education met with Rachel and Alma Heights colleagues to learn about how American schools incorporate character education into their curricula.

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Dr. Daniel Thomas Presents to Caritas Scholars 10/8/15

Dr. Thomas addressed the topic of faith and innovation in medicine and used his experience to challenge the students to use their unique gifts and talents for the good of others. Dr. Daniel Thomas MD, PhD is a cancer and blood specialist currently working at Stanford University School of Medicine developing new treatments for leukemia. He is an author of over 25 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and has received a number of awards for his cancer research.

**Please note – Veritas founder created and launched the Caritas Scholars Program in 2012 at Alma Heights Christian Schools (now Pacific Bay Christian School).

Publications

Education without Purpose: A Study of Academic Underachievement in the S.F. Bay Area – 2012

Q Commons Talk, Silicon Valley 10/9/14
Topic: The Essentiality of Purpose in Academic Achievement
Location: CityTeam San Jose

Join with 10,000 participants across 60+ cities to enjoy an evening of vision, learning and engagement on the cultural issues and topics that matter most. Combining three nationally broadcasted talks with three locally curated, in-person talks, you will be informed and equipped to advance good.

Silicon Valley Startup: Idea to Ipo (workshop)  3/19/15
Topic: Social Entrepreneurship: How You Can Change the World
Location: Bay Area Entrepreneurship Center

Special Guest, Gina Mazetti Show 4/15

The Rotary Club of San Bruno 7/29/15
Topic: Business as Unusual: Doing Well By Doing Good
Location: Terrace Cafe

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay

“There is no problem that apprenticeship to Jesus cannot solve.” – Dallas Willard