Service in the City
Volunteers participate in vital mission of School Sisters of Notre Dame
Two recent college graduates full of enthusiasm, eager to serve and open to a new adventure, participated in the first SSND Service in the City volunteer program in June 2012 in St. Paul, Minn.
Melea Shimkus and Steph Haas volunteered at MORE Multicultural School for Empowerment during this pilot program. A typical service day included assisting with advocacy needs, tutoring a newly arrived immigrant, helping with clothing distribution and sharing lunch with the staff.
Making a Difference
“I was very surprised at how each of them dove right in and were able to make a difference,” said Cathy Rucci, the director of MORE.
Steph, an exercise science major, instructed each small class group in the importance of daily exercise and led an exercise session. Melea, an English major, especially loved working with the English Language Learners (ELL) classes.
“It was easy to gain the respect and understanding of both students and staff,” Steph said. “I would go back in a heartbeat.”
Sharing life with the Sisters
Sisters Gen Olin, Marion Welter and Paulette Pass warmly welcomed the two volunteers and Sister Marcie Solms, coordinator of the SSND volunteer program, to their home during the program. The community offered hospitality, meals and daily support. Sharing life with the three of them proved to be a valuable and memorable part of the two week service experience.
In her evaluation, Melea commented, “I can’t believe all the amazing, wonderful women of God that I got to meet. Everyone had such fantastic stories from their lives that they so openly shared.”