Some very special young tourists visited Cleveland this week, not only taking in all the great things Cleveland has to offer, but also making lifelong friendships, thanks to some warm-hearted and compassionate teens. They are all this week's Romona's Kids.
A group of 15 kids from Kermit, WV, ages 8 to 15, have been checking out the sights, like the Museum of Natural History, Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland Public Library, and Cleveland Museum of Art. They also went to an Indians game and saw Cinderella at Playhouse Square. This is the first time most of them have seen a big city.
Their hosts are girls from Cleveland's St. Joseph Academy. For years, SJA students have traveled to Kermit to run summer camps, and even build or repair homes and playgrounds. This is the first time the Kermit kids have come to Cleveland to visit.
"Seeing the impact that we have on them, it's just great. It just makes my day. It makes me smile. I love it," said student Tori Roberts.
It's all part of the ABLE Families program, a Congregation of St. Joseph-sponsored ministry. ABLE stands for Affirming, Believing, Learning and Empowering, and it was founded in 1995 by the Sisters of St. Joseph.
"I think the first and most important thing that we want to establish is relationships," said Maria Mueller, SJA college counselor. "Just giving them the idea that close to home, look at all these opportunities that are available for you."
"I want to share everything with them, everything I feel I want them to feel and I want to encourage them to want to reach for more and see how much they can accomplish in life," said student Annie Zingalis.