“…the passion for working with this population comes from responding to the sadness that occurs in a family that is struggling with housing, employment and other problems. The feeling that it is just too late. Add to that the sadness of an at-risk youngster that just can’t make it to school.”
Fr. Alex Steinmiller CP recently spent some time at the offices of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville. We talked about his background and work, most recently with the Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex has been working with marginalized and high-risk people since 1975, when he became involved with public housing and education in Detroit. He formed a team of religious and laity called Life Directions, a nonprofit that addressed the needs of at-risk youth.
For Fr. Alex, the key formula for working with an at-risk person is to connect him or her with someone who is “higher achieving,” as a mentor and guide. This model proved itself in Detroit as well in the work he later took on leading the Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School in Birmingham.