The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Sisters first became aware of A Place Called Home in its early days, when Debrah Constance, its founder, was operating in the basement of a church. In 1997 RSHM Sister Patricia Connor first came upon APCH, and saw first-hand how this South Los Angeles organization was providing a safe haven for hundreds of underserved youth, empowering them to take ownership of the quality and direction of their lives through programs in education, arts and well-being. Since the moment she walked through its doors, Sister Connor and the RSHM have championed the work of APCH, offering financial and professional support to the thousands of young people who have benefited from its educational, arts and life skills programs. “Sister Pat and RSHM are part of the DNA of APCH,” said Jonathan Zeichner, A Place Called Home’s executive director. “Their commitment to disadvantaged youth has been illustrated in so many ways, not only in their service to us, but also with many other educational and social service organizations in this city and across the globe.”On Dec. 11, the Debrah Constance Humanitarian Award will be presented to Sister Connor and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary as part of the 2013 “Gala for the Children,” a celebration of APCH’s 20th anniversary at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Also being recognized at the dinner will be Jack Suzar, managing director of Bel Air Investment Advisors, who will receive APCH’s Community Builder Award, and Dr. Phillip Goglia, who will receive the organization’s Children’s Inspiration Award. APCH expects more than 600 guests to be in attendance, raising over $1 million for its work.This year, the RSHM Sisters are celebrating their 90th anniversary of coming to California. Their presence is felt at Marymount High School, Loyola Marymount University, Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School, in various pastoral ministries, and in organizations and initiatives focusing on the concerns of underprivileged women and children, such as South Central LAMP (Los Angeles Ministry Project). “RSHM places its resources at the service of those most in need of justice in our society,” Zeichner said. Sister Connor has a long and distinguished record of RSHM leadership. She served as general superior of her international congregation (1985-95); led the Western American Province as Provincial Superior twice (1976-82 and 2003-09); and was a member of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the International Union of Superiors General. A member of APCH’s board of directors, Sister Connor volunteers in the high school dropout recovery program which, with Christopher Smart, she previously directed for six years. During that time, she assisted in initiating the organization’s Shaheen Scholarship Program, instrumental in sending hundreds of inner city young people to college. Sister Connor also is a member of Marymount High School’s board of trustees.For more information on A Place Called Home, call (323) 238-9930 or visit{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1122/sisterpat/{/gallery}