LIFT is not just a rite of passage, but rather a lifetime journey.
LIFT was inspired by the dream of four Indian priests who looked at their struggling community and orphaned children and asked; what more can we do to make an impact? They felt that education was the best way to empower youth and create sustainable transformation. One of these priests, Fr. Jamels James traveled to Chicago to continue his studies. In Chicago he met Fr. Jack Wall of Old St. Pat’s Church who shared this belief in the power of education. Fr. Jack and a group of motivated volunteers enthusiastically began supporting Fr. Jamels in his work to raise children out of poverty to become the next leaders of their community.
For over 10 years, LIFT in India has been able to grow and flourish due to this ongoing relationship with U.S. donors. Since its inception, LIFT has educated on average 70 students per year, supporting students in primary through graduate school. More than 25 students have completed their undergraduate university education with LIFT. A number of these graduates are members of LIFT 2.0, a group that gives back to the program through donations and mentorship of current students.
In addition to tuition and leadership training, LIFT provides a loving home environment for its children. LIFT employs professionally trained adults that supervise the students and live in the boarding facilities, drivers that transport students to and from school, and cooks who prepare nutritious meals.
Today, LIFT is a shining light in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India. Local business and community mentors support the students and teachers. Outside visitors to LIFT are continually impressed by the children’s work ethic and positive spirits. LIFT students continue to develop their talents and gifts with the understanding that they will use their skills to improve their communities and society.