Father Drinan said, “You need Peru. Peru needs you.”
From 1985 to 1989, he served as a Jesuit International Volunteer in Tacna, Peru, where he taught high school and founded the Center for the Working Child to help street children and their families. Twenty-one years after its founding, the Center continues to provide health, nutrition, education and housing services to 250 children each year. His book, Volunteer: With the Poor in Peru (Paulist Press, 1991), details the founding of the project.
Jeff’s work in Peru has shaped his life into one of public service, working for the poor and disadvantaged children. Closer to home, please read this letter about his work for North Cambridge Catholic High School.
Arlington Advocate, January 17, 2008
I didn’t attend Arlington High or Arlington Catholic, though I’ve lived in Arlington all my forty-five years. As it happens, I did go to North Cambridge Catholic (class of 1980) right down the road, so to speak.
In those days, NCC was probably the smallest and certainly cheapest Catholic high school east of the Connecticut River. We had no football team, no gym, no showers and no bus. Truly it was a no-frills parochial education in every way.
But the school had heart, let me assure you all of that. A few years ago, NCC along with a host of other good local Catholic schools, was in danger of closure. A lot of people, high and low, labored long and hard to save the school.
The guy who worked the longest and the hardest on behalf of NCC was none other than Jeff Thielman. He got the funding in line to convert the school over to the Christo Rey model, helped it achieve financial independence and turned a potential loss into a triumph.
Say what you like about the guy, but North Cambridge Catholic is open and thriving today because of his own hard work.
It is that kind of tenacity I’d like to see in my next state representative – period end of story. A lot of other fine parochial schools have closed in and around Boston these last few years, marking a melancholy end for a lot of people’s high school memories, thankfully this was not the case with NCC and Jeff Thielman helped make that happen. I happily and unreservedly endorse my neighbor and friend Jeff Thielman for state representative.
John L. Galligan
Jeff’s experience will make him a great state representative.
There’s more video of Jeff online at www.jeffthielman.com