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10/08/2004
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'School House' project raises $44,000 for Central City schools
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'School House' project raises $44,000 for Central City schools
By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor

1008schoolhouse.jpg
Kevin Kelly/Key photo
Ellen Sweeney thanks volunteers and supporters of "The School House" project Oct. 3 as Sister of Charity Barbara Schrader and husband Mike Sweeney look on.
ROELAND PARK, Kan. - Chalk up $44,000 for the Central City School Fund. The "School House" has been sold.

Mike and Ellen Sweeney, told an army of volunteers Oct. 2 and 3 who donated both labor and materials to their project to donate profits from the sale of a Johnson County home to the Central City School Fund, that real estate agent DeeDee Cooper of Reece & Nichols sold the home within a week of its market listing.

The Sweeneys purchased the home in the 4700 block of Fontana in Roeland Park last spring, then spent the summer coordinating volunteer efforts to renovate it for sale.

The sale realized a profit of about $44,000, which will be donated to the fund that provides scholarships to children and operating costs for seven Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan elementary schools that are within the boundaries of the Kansas City, Mo., public school district.

"I pretty much used up my entire summer with this," Ellen Sweeney said. "I don't think lying by the pool or going to the park would have paid for many kids to go to school."

Sister of Charity Barbara Schrader, director of the Central City School Fund, said the $44,000 profit will cover the equivalent of scholarships for about 80 children, or the equivalent of some $6,000 to cover operating expenses at each of the seven schools - Holy Cross, St. Monica, St. Stephen, Our Lady of the Angels, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Bishop Sullivan Early Childhood Learning Center, all in Kansas City, and St. Ann in Independence.

Sister Schrader, speaking at a "house blessing" gathering of volunteers and friends, praised the vision of the Sweeneys to help make Catholic education affordable for more families.

"We're called to be stewards and to use our gifts," she said. "This was truly a 'mustard seed' project. Not only do we have the gift of creation on the outside, you have the gift of co-creation on the inside. You have been God's hands in making this dream come true."

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