Saint Joseph’s University Awards KenCrest Children’s Homes


KenCrest Children’s Transitional Care Homes were honored with the 2024 Faith-Justice Institute Community Partner Award.

By Sydney Kerelo

On April 23, Saint Joseph’s University acknowledged KenCrest Children’s Transitional Care Homes for their exceptional dedication to supporting the educational and personal growth of SJU students through their Service-Learning community partnership.

As part of SJU's Faith-Justice Institute, a center that promotes social analysis and critical thought on faith and justice issues, eight students take turns visiting the home for three hours weekly as part of a Service-Learning class. This allows students to participate in service both in and out of the classroom by spending time with medically fragile children. Each student assists the children in practicing motor skills, playing, and reading books.

"I am currently in a service-learning English class this semester, and they place you within different community partners, like food kitchens or homeless shelters," says Julie, a current Freshman at SJU. "This semester, Shiva and I were placed here."

This is Julie’s second semester working at one of KenCrest Children’s Transitional Care Homes. She enjoyed working with the children so much during her first semester that she wanted to return. Another SJU freshman, Shiva, is working with medically fragile children for the first time and is loving it.

The Children's Transitional Care Team at the Saint Joseph's University Faith-Justice Institute Community Partner Award ceremony. // Photo by Aubrey Hoffert
Leylani and the Children's Transitional Care team accepting the 2024 Faith-Justice Institute Community Partner Award. // Photo by Aubrey Hoffert

KenCrest operates two Children’s Transitional Care Homes in Philadelphia, PA that cater to medically fragile or technology-dependent children with various diagnoses, such as tracheostomies, central lines, oxygen and feeding tubes, chromosomal disorders, and neurological conditions.

Medically fragile children often require medical equipment to sustain their lives. Some need skilled nursing 24/7 to monitor their breathing or heart rate, while others may require a ventilator or feeding tube.


The 2024 Faith-Justice Institute Community Partner Award. // Photo by Aubrey Hoffert

KenCrest has collaborated with SJU’s Faith-Justice Institute’s Service-Learning Program for several years to help students comprehend the human and social issues they encounter inside and outside the classroom. The Service-Learning program is rooted in the Ignatian tradition, which is embodied by five core criteria aimed at nurturing a commitment to developing individuals with conscience, competence, and compassion.

According to SJU, the Service-Learning mission is “in line with the Jesuit mission of Saint Joseph’s University; the service work will engage students with a particularly marginalized population such as men and women who are homeless, people who are economically poor, adults suffering with mental or physical disabilities, the elderly, or children attending inner-city schools.”

This year, the Children’s Transitional Care Homes were presented with the 2024 Faith-Justice Institute Community Partner Award for being an outstanding service-learning community partner, for the exemplary care provided to the children, and for modeling human dignity for Saint Joseph’s University students.

“It’s such a rewarding experience working with the kids here,” says Julie. “I enjoyed my time here during my first semester, and I just had to come back; I truly love being here

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