A Venice woman who has been active in efforts to help poor and homeless children and adults through a program she founded with her children is being honored by her alma mater.

Christine Schanes will be given the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Humanitarian Award Saturday, April 21st, by the University of San Diego (USD) ó the university from which she earned a bachelorís degree in 1969.

The award is named after one of USDís co-founders.

Schanes and her two children, Chrissy and Patrick, are the founders of Children Helping Poor and Homeless People, an educational outreach program conducted by children and teens with adults as advisors.

The program, founded in 1987, directs services to combat poverty, hunger and homelessness through hands-on learning and community service projects for volunteers of all ages.

University of San Diego officials said the school has chosen to honor Schanes with the humanitarian award because she is someone who has made a difference in the lives of poor and homeless people in her community.

ìChristine truly exemplifies USDís goal of creating graduates who are not just prepared for the world but prepared to change it,î said Martin Kaplan, University of San Diego director of Alumni Relations. ìThe organization she and her children created has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of needy children and adults, and we are very proud to honor her.î

Schanes said she was ìvery gratefulî to receive the humanitarian award, adding that the honor will help bring attention to the importance of what she does ó help poor and homeless children and adults.

ìI said that I would only accept it on behalf of our organization,î Schanes said of the award.

The primary goal of Children Helping Poor and Homeless People is to help end hunger, poverty and homelessness through education, Schanes said.

The program aims to provide food and the necessities of life to children and their families, as well as to prevent them from becoming homeless, she said.

Children Helping Poor and Homeless People, which started in Venice and is now active in five states, also tries to provide community service opportunities for people of all ages, she said.

ìWeíre one of the few organizations that encourage hands-on participation by children of all ages,î Schanes said.

By working with adults as advisors in the program, the youths are able to get involved in trying to solve the problems of homelessness and poverty, she said. Many of the youths who begin participating in the program as children continue to take part as adults, she added.

The organization includes 13 different programs and it partners with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, the Beverly Hills School District, public and private schools, churches, temples, scout troops, community groups, companies, families and individuals.

The educational outreach program works with students from over 200 schools in California.

Schanes said the program is currently expanding to assist more children and their families.

Children Helping Poor and Homeless People has received letters of support from several elected officials, including President George W. Bush, former President George H.W. Bush and Senator Diane Feinstein.

Schanes is to111 receive the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Humanitarian Award at the USD Alumni Honors Celebration, which honors outstanding graduates in the areas of career and athletic achievement, contributions to humanitarian causes and volunteer service to USD.

Information about Children Helping Poor and Homeless People, (800) 333-4349.

Share