For those of you who know me well, this probably isn’t a big surprise for you and you may have even been wondering where I was headed to next. I am excited to share with you all, that in mid-August I am headed to Santiago, Chile for a year of service. I have been dreaming about this particular year of service for the past year and half. Last year, I was looking forward to serving in Chile, but due to complications with the placement, Good Shepherd Volunteers (GSV) offered me a position in New York City instead. To be completely honest, I had no desire to live and do a year of service in New York. I reluctantly left for New York after spending my whole summer working in the Dominican Republic (my second home as I like to call it). So why did I go you may ask? I had previously turned down another volunteer position in NYC and what were the chances I was being offered another position there? This was God telling me that He wanted me in New York. Time would only tell why.
Fast forward to this year where I became part of Good Shepherd Volunteers, a volunteer program that works passionately and selflessly to serve women, adolescents, and children affected by poverty, violence, and neglect. Through this program, I was “placed” at public high school comprised of mainly students who are Dominican. Here, I work alongside students that listen to the same music as me and had lived in the same neighborhoods/areas I had lived in while in the Dominican Republic. Safe to say, I quickly fell in love with my students and it was apparent why God sent me to NYC. Although I love my high school placement, my mind and heart still couldn’t shake the thought that if things would have “perfectly fallen into place” I would have been in Chile this year. As the time came to think about a second volunteer year, I anxiously filled out the application and hoped and prayed that I would receive the exact position that had been offered to me a year ago. To my surprise, I was offered the position during my interview and I screamed, jumped for joy and hugged the GSV staff as my dreams of volunteering abroad since freshman year in college were finally coming true. God really does work in mysterious ways if you just have patience.
Starting this August, I will have the opportunity to serve at Chalice-Santiago, a sponsorship program, where I will be able to use my greatest passions, Spanish and social work to attempt to help carry the crosses of those who are often ignored by society. I will work alongside other Chilean social workers (seriously, how cool is that?!) to serve single mothers who have experienced some degree of domestic violence and are currently living in poverty. Through the generosity of sponsors, Chalice is able to provide resources (material, financial, educational) to improve the lives of mothers and their children. I am beyond excited for this new journey, and I know that this work is what I am being called to do. In my opinion, there is no better way to spend my life other than by accompanying people throughout their triumphs and challenges. At this point, I would like to ask you all to accompany me on my journey and share with me in my triumphs as challenges as well. I will need all the emotional support that I can get and I would love all of your thoughts, prayers, messages and speaking out about injustices that affect those who are marginalized and oppressed. I am also asking for financial contributions, which will go directly to funding my year of service while in Chile. Not a single penny will go to administrative or overhead costs. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will help me towards my fundraising goal of $4,000. In order to donate you may send a check to Good Shepherd Volunteers at 25-30 21st Ave, Astoria, NY 11105 with my name in the memo or you may donate online through this page. All monetary donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your support, whether that is emotional, financial or both and I look forward to bringing you with me on my next journey. Sending you all my love,Madeline
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