Santa comes early for diocesan preschool classrooms

Vincent de Paul preschoolers examine toys donated by the Learning Journey during a visit to the school Dec. (Tony Gutierrez/CATHOLIC SUN)Gift through CCF provides educational toys

Sans the snow and eight tiny reindeer, Christmas came early for children attending the 29 preschools in the Diocese of Phoenix.

Their teachers each received a significant allotment of educational toys through a Catholic Community Foundation donation to be used in the classroom.

Phoenix-based The Learning Journey Intl. Vincent de Paul School, helps open gifts donated to the school's preschool by the Learning Journey Dec. Vincent de Paul School, helps open gifts donated to the school's preschool by the Learning Journey Dec. Gregory School help unload toys donated by the Learning Journey to the school's preschool classrooms Dec. Gregory School help unload toys donated by the Learning Journey to the school's preschool classrooms Dec. Gregory School principal Maureen DeGrose hands an educational toy donated by the Learning Journey to a pre-school boy Dec. Vincent de Paul School how to play with educational toys donated by the Learning Journey Dec. Vincent de Paul School how to play with educational toys donated by the Learning Journey Dec. Vincent de Paul School how to use the educational toys donated by the company Dec. Vincent de Paul School piece together an educational puzzle donated by the Learning Journey Dec. Vincent de Paul School piece together an educational puzzle donated by the Learning Journey Dec.

The couple, whose two children attended Catholic preschool, elementary and high school in the diocese and received scholarships through CCF, wanted to "pay it forward" as their company grew.

In 2014 they were able to start an endowment fund that supports one Christian Service Award every four years.

"We believe that a Catholic education is a gift and we want to assist in making sure that as many children that want to take advantage of that gift can," Debbie said.

David Pederson, senior director of major gifts for CCF, said the Freres have been part of the foundation's programs for many years, particularly through their involvement in the CSA program.

JB Frere from @LearningJourney shows a pre-schooler how to play with one of the toys donated to the classroom at St. (Tony Gutierrez/CATHOLIC SUN)

Both their son and daughter have visited Catholic schools to promote the scholarship program for students.

Pederson said the Freres' generosity to the youngest children attending diocesan schools is reflective of the spirit of Christmas; sharing gifts with family and friends in honor of God's gift to the world His son, Jesus Christ.

"This gift, in particular, is so unique and fun.



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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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