Before beginning this new chapter of my life, I reflected a lot on the wise words of figures like Gandhi and Mother Teresa, read a lot of scripture throughout this process, and talked with family, friends, and coworkers before committing to a year of international service. Similarly helpful, I turned to the wise words of Robby Novak, otherwise known as Kid President. “Sure, there’s bad stuff in the world, but there’s also you. You can be anything that you want today, so be bold, be kind, be awesome, repeat. It’s like shampoo, but with your life.” I have always been passionate about helping others, so I am very excited to embark on what will assuredly be a life-changing experience as a Good Shepherd Volunteer in Chile.
When I reflected on the reasons why I wanted to join the GSV Program, I had to back-track a bit. As a child, my mom (and all of her helpers) were the perfect example of sacrifice and selflessness for me. They gave so much of themselves to ensure that I (and my siblings) would thrive. In high school and college, I participated in a number of service organizations and projects that sparked my interest in social justice. After graduating from Lewis University, I went on a mission trip to Bolivia which exposed me to the marginalized in another country; while there is so much need here in the United States, I experienced poverty on a new level. Joining the Lasallian Volunteer program brought me to De Marillac Academy; after four years at DMA, I am very sad to leave “my babies,” but I was blessed to begin my teaching career with students, families, and coworkers who taught me more than they will ever know.
With that said, I am really looking forward to learning from the Chilean people in a similar way. The GSV Program sends volunteers to locations where they serve women, adolescents, and children affected by poverty, violence, and neglect. The four tenets that I will focus on during my service in the program are Social Justice, Simplicity, Spirituality, and Community. I look forward to growing in all of those areas, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and bringing all that I learn back with me in the hopes of becoming a better educator, disciple, and person!
While preparing for a year abroad, I am hoping to build a strong support system before I depart in August. I will need your emotional support in order to help me through what will assuredly be a challenging transition. I will miss my family (particularly my wombmate) and friends, but we will be able to keep in touch with one another throughout my journey thanks to the plethora of online resources. Your prayers, good vibes, emails, pictures, etc. will make being away from both of my homes (Chi-town and Cali) that much easier.
Of course, I am also hoping for financial support. Let’s get this out of the way…I am not a fan of taking money from others (you probably know this if you have ever been out to dinner with me). It feels uncomfortable because I know that you worked hard for that money, and I want you to be able to use it on your own expenses. However, the GSV Staff has helped me to look at this a different way. I will not simply be taking your money, sending you the courtesy thank you card, and heading off to Chile when I meet the $4000 fundraising goal for this experience. Your contribution (of any amount) will show that you want to go on this journey with me! You want to “be bold, be kind, be awesome, and repeat” as Kid President suggested. As I am teaching English classes, brainstorming and organizing fundraisers, and learning so much from our Chilean brothers and sisters, you will be there with me. I will do all that I can to make you proud and to assure you that each penny was donated to a worthy cause. I hope to see as many people as I can before I go.
As always, peace and blessings!
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 Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105
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