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History

A Brief History

The foundation came into being in 1995 in support of Paul Lammermeier’s work with homeless children in Peru. Paul initially came into contact with the poor there through his work as community service director at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was deeply touched by the abject poverty he witnessed in Perú, and in 1988 moved to Lima to teach at an inner-city Jesuit high school.

Soon, Paul was drawn to the larger needs in the community as he became acquainted with the children living on the streets. In 1993, he informally adopted two homeless boys, providing them with shelter, food, education, and moral guidance. He decided to formalize his work by establishing a home for boys.

Beyond the profound impact Paul’s work had on the children he took in, his example elicited a deep desire on the part of others in his life to support his mission in Perú.

A diverse collection of friends and colleagues of Paul Lammermeier, and alumni of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio., and others came together to found this organization in order to provide the financial and organizational support necessary to further his work.
Reflecting the influence of God and the Jesuits, Paul Lammermeier has dedicated his entire adult life to the service and education of others. The Paul Lammermeier Foundation, a non-profit organization, was founded in early 1995 to generate funding to support Paul’s efforts in Lima, Peru (South America).

Paul Lammermeier was born in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, August 21, 1939. Paul’s working class parents decided early on that Paul and his two brothers would benefit from a Catholic education. So, at significant financial sacrifice, the three brothers attended St. Francis Xavier Parochial School and later, St. Ignatius High School.

Paul blossomed both academically and spiritually at St. Ignatius. Upon graduation from St. Ignatius in 1957, Paul entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). As a Jesuit scholastic, he returned to St. Ignatius from 1964-1967, teaching History and Latin and serving as Assistant Athletic Director and as Prefect at the morning Liturgies. On weekends, he ran the local Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball league

During his ten years in the Jesuits, Paul received an excellent education in Philosophy and the Humanities. He received an AB degree from Loyola University (Chicago) in 1963 and an MA in 1968, majoring in History. More importantly, he embraced Jesuit spirituality, seeing God in every person and everything – and made this central to his life.

In 1968, Paul made a major life change and withdrew from the Jesuits. During his years teaching at St. Ignatius High School, Paul had found his true calling as a teacher. To further prepare, he returned to school, entering a doctoral program at Kent State University, where he majored in American History with an emphasis on African American History. Those years were integral to the formation of Paul’s social consciousness as he studied the American Black experience and that of other minorities within American society.

In the spring of 1974, St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio hired Paul to teach and establish its community service program. Over the next fourteen years, Paul dedicated his life to instilling in his students the attitudes consistent with Jesuit philosophy and service to the needy in one’s community. This service included assistance to the terminally ill, tutoring disadvantaged youth, a Junior Big Brothers Program, canned food drives, etc. During his final year at St. Xavier, over five hundred students participated in the community service program. The program continues to thrive and has become a trademark of the school on a national basis, even though Paul has been away from the school for almost twelve years.

In 1983, Paul made the first of several mission trips to Peru, each trip longer than the last. After a six-month visit teaching, learning the language, and working with the poor, Paul felt a calling to be a missionary in Peru. Five years later, in 1988, Paul sold his house and belongings, left everything that he loved and put himself in the hands of the Lord. Paul was hired to teach English and History and begin a small community service program at Colegio San Francisco Javier, where he is still working.

Through Paul’s community service work, he came to know many homeless Peruvian orphans. In 1992, he took one and later a second teenage boy into his small apartment. With his meager teacher’s salary and unsolicited financial assistance from a handful of friends in the States, Paul was able to provide the essentials for these two boys: Edgar and Donato.

Yet, Paul sensed that God was calling him to do more. On a trip back to the United States, Paul told some of his former St. Xavier students and friends of a home he envisioned for homeless boys. A dozen of these friends decided to form a non-profit organization with the sole purpose of providing funds for Paul’s efforts. Thus, the Paul Lammermeier Foundation (PLF) was created in 1995. PLF board members administer the foundation and the raising of its funds. By April 1997, the foundation, with the financial support of hundreds whom Paul had met while living in Cincinnati and Cleveland, had raised enough money to purchase the present house in Breña, a working class neighborhood in Lima.

Gradually, Paul increased the number of boys living in the house, all from desperate circumstances from the provinces in Peru and all being provided an opportunity to further their education in a “home” setting.

The success of Casa Javier prompted Paul to set his sights on a new goal – a second home. This was accomplished by expanding the database of donors. The board expanded its efforts to Cleveland, capitalizing on the fact that Paul was a graduate of St. Ignatius School and had taught there during the 1960’s. By 2004, there were enough funds to purchase the second home, to be named “Casa Ignacio.”

Growing Towards Tomorrow….
Over the years, the PLF Board has served as much more than a fundraising organization for Casa Javier. In addition to gathering and providing oversight of funding, we have continually sought to understand the original mission in light of our experiences with an openness to where this may lead. Casa Ignacio was one significant result of this reflection. Given the incredibly positive impact of home life on the boys of Casa Javier, along with the optimistic encouragement of our family of supporters, together with Paul and the ACJ (board in Peru) we continue to expand and renew the mission and the work has continued on. The successes seen with the houses continue to inspire and to push us forward. There has been some reflection and discussion on the part of the Board, Paul and the Asociación Casa Javier. A significant result of this dialogue has been the development of a plan with the following broad goals: Open a third home and develop a fund raising component to Asociación Casa Javier.

We have given much consideration to the operational and financial details involved in our goal,  an exciting new change – the addition of a home for girls.

Another significant development in our plan is a continued affiliation with Boys Hope Girls Hope International (BHGH). The BHGH model is very similar to our own, drawing children from difficult backgrounds together into a supportive home environment and providing access to educational and other resources. Moreover they are a large international organization with a wealth of resources —advisory and financial —and offer much. Our biggest concern as a Board has been how to benefit from a relationship with BHGH without compromising our mission. The affiliate program was designed with this concern in mind. Boys Hope Girls Hope views its role as a supportive one, providing resources to organizations in order to assist them in the work they do. Affiliates maintain complete control of their finances and programming.

While change always brings with it new challenges, we are energized by these new directions. We hope you share in our excitement, and will continue to keep you informed of our progress.

For additional information please call 513-923-5450 or send an email to: caroline@lammermeier.org.