During my sophomore year of college, I attended a panel discussion with alumni from a residential community that I was a part of at the time. On the panel, a woman spoke about her experience serving with Good Shepherd Volunteers in a residential facility for adolescent girls who are a part of the foster care system in New York City. She spoke about the challenges that come with working with traumatized youth, but also the immeasurable gains that result from the relationships you are able to build. Her stories and experience resonated with me over the following years, so much so that I decided to apply to Good Shepherd Volunteers when I reached my senior year of college. The program stood out to me, not only because of the site, but also because of its values of zeal and individual worth. I ended up accepting the position at the same site that had been my inspiration a few years prior, and I have served at Euphrasian Residence for the past year.
I have fallen in love with my site, my coworkers, and especially the youth that I have been able to work with. That is not to say that things have been easy this year. I have had to learn to lean into discomfort. I have learned that it is in these spaces of insecurity and in these challenges that I am able to grow. I have been pushed to the limit so many times, only to find out that the limit did not exist. I have developed a certain fondness for what GSV calls “internal stretch marks”. I don’t imagine living in this space forever, but as I began my discernment over a possible second year of service, I knew so definitively that my time with Good Shepherd was not over.
In the Fall of 2016, I will be serving in Nongkhai, Thailand assisting in a Care Center for HIV/AIDS patients. The majority of my social justice engagement has been through domestic systems and I look forward to the opportunity to connect with the international sphere. In continuing to embrace GSV’s four tenets of spirituality, simplicity, community, and social justice, I am seeking to amplify and diversify my understanding of these values in a new context. The site of the Care Center, will give me invaluable insight into the field of healthcare and provide me with an outlet for the tools I gained during my undergraduate study in Biomathematics. I have always had a heightened curiosity and interest in chronic diseases and their methods of prevention and maintenance.
I am entering this experience with an open mind and an open heart. I am putting my love into action and walking with others in their journey through this next year of life. Now I am asking you to walk with me. I have a fundraising goal of $4,000 that will go toward my experience serving the community in Nongkhai. If you are able to give financially, please do so on this page or by mailing a check with my name in the memo to Good Shepherd Volunteers, 25-30 21st Ave, Astoria, NY 11105. Please know that all monetary donations to GSV go toward our experience of serving people in need, not administrative or overhead costs and all gifts are tax deductible. I thank you for your kind consideration.
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