To love, to serve, to teach and to work for justice is what we at Catholic Charities do daily. As I have stated before in earlier entries, I was placed at My Sister’s Place Women’s Center. It is hard to put into words what happens there on a daily basis, because quite frankly you never know what type of day you will have, but mainly because you can’t put into words the joys and sorrows that we experience.
This year of service was about serving and educating through a residential volunteer experience. I honestly didn’t think I would have ended up in a program like this after just graduating college, but this has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Not only did it further my education but I made awesome friends and got to do it all in a new city!
The family that is Catholic Charities is so welcoming and warm. When you first come into the Catholic Charities family, you will be the new person but within no time at all it’s as if you have known these amazing people for a very long time. You see and hear the passion while working with these individuals and you get to see their drive. It rubs off on you, to the point where you will begin to think outside the box, collaborate and grow even more enthusiastic about wanting to help those we serve. This organization is one that is not afraid to get their hands dirty and do work. Everyone at Catholic Charities works to improve the lives of Marylanders in need, and they will not stop until they do so. What is even more empowering are the connections between all programs at Catholic Charities. Each program will help another if need be without any questions or hesitations; whether it be volunteering, exchanging of donations or knowledge of other resources. You see the commitment to this organization as a whole and the enthusiasm when they all work together, creating one family. It is this “one family”, Catholic Charities, that allows us to love, serve, teach and work for justice here in Baltimore.
This year of service has taught me not only about how many awesome services Catholic Charities offers but also the other services in Baltimore. I have learned how hard it is for women and children to find shelter, that we may be the only place where some of these women will receive a meal during the day, and that we may be the only place they can come when it’s cold outside. Even so, these women are the true inspiration and where my passion comes from. These women come to us in a state of need and when they are in a very vulnerable state, which takes courage and bravery. I commend the women who come to us. It is the needs and stories of these women that make me want to fight a little bit harder every day to give them the services they need.
The co-workers I have at MSPWC are those who all share the same passion, and it is radiated through their everyday work. This group of women is dedicated to those we serve; we often find ourselves talking about how to help clients over lunch, and the work never stops. Although we take our work seriously, we still take time out of our day to make sure we laugh, smile and ask about one another; which is needed in the overwhelming days that happen. Not a day goes by where I don’t smile and laugh at work with this awe-inspiring group of women. These co-workers are the peanut butter to my jelly, the spring in my step, the blue in my sky, and the cherry to my sundae. Needless to say, that they have taken me into their small, yet big, happy and joyous, dysfunctional-yet-functional family and I love them for it!
It is amazing what can happen in a year; how much you can grow, how many you can serve, how much you can learn, how many friends you can make, how many places you can go, how many sites you can see, and how many memories you can make. This year of service has meant so much to me and I would recommend it to many more college graduates. I have learned that it is perfectly alright not to have your life figured out as soon as you are finished with school; you are still learning, growing and exploring and that is ok! Those around you will support you and guide you through it all. I thank the Catholic Charities family for allowing myself and the other Project SERVE volunteers this opportunity, but most of all the support of my family, friends and co-workers at MSPWC through this awesome journey. As the volunteer year ends I would like to leave with a quote for you all to take a moment and think about:
“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired.” ~ George Hinckley