Thanks to the generous charitable contributions provided via Together in Mission (part of the Annual Catholic Appeal), more than 60 Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles receive much-needed monetary support to ensure sufficient funding for fundamental items, such as desks, classroom equipment, critical improvements, safety upgrades and tuition assistance.

In some cases, those donations even help some campuses to stay afloat during difficult times, allowing them to keep their doors open in historically-underserved communities. One of those schools is Nativity Elementary.

Founded in 1925 on the corner of Vermont and 56th Street in the heart of South Los Angeles, Nativity is a thriving school, with a growing enrollment currently totaling more than 340 students, from transitional kindergarten through eighth grade — 90 percent of which live at or below the federal poverty level.

Thanks to dedicated teachers, strong school leadership and family support — combined with essential assistance from Together in Mission — Nativity students are not only learning in the classroom, they are also encouraged to live out their faith. They complete a combined 1,000-plus hours of community service throughout the school year.

“Without the generous support of the Together in Mission donors the future of Nativity School and other schools like ours would be unknown,” explained Antonio Felix, principal of Nativity, noting that Together in Mission helped their school tremendously in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Due to extensive damage caused by the quake, the original brick school building was deemed unusable and had to be closed. As a result, Nativity students had to endure early morning bus rides to a neighboring Catholic school while they waited to find out whether or not the building would be repaired.

Luckily, four years later Together in Mission was able to provide the funds necessary to repair and reopen the building, which currently houses Nativity’s fourth through eighth grade classrooms, a science lab, computer research lab, library and the auditorium.

“Because of Together in Mission, current and future [Nativity] students will continue to have a thriving Catholic school in their community to call their own and that will help set a solid educational foundation,” Felix told The Tidings. “Together in Mission has given our school more than financial support; it has given our students and their families hope for a bright and successful future.”