With gentrification morphing the once crime-ridden and drug-infested streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan into storefronts filled with swanky merchandise and hip restaurants, the Nativity Mission Center, a Jesuit middle school that for nearly 40 years has been educating promising, but poor, boys in the neighborhood is starting to feel out of place. Knowing that the school must be located where the need is greatest, Jesuit Father Jack Podsiadlo is following in the tradition of intrepid Jesuit missionaries and has embarked on an urban expedition: finding a needy neighborhood where he can relocate his school by 2012.
Fr. Podsiadlo’s quest to find the right location for his school and highlights of the work of the Nativity Mission Center are profiled in this piece in the New York Times. You can also view a slideshow of photos of the school and the Lower East Side neighborhood where it is currently located.