“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
This past week, we welcomed a group of 14 volunteers from Sacred Heart Parish in Newton, Iowa. They chose St. Mary’s Home for their 28th annual Faith Journey after having a wonderful experience with the Little Sisters in Cleveland last year. The group was comprised of nine high school students and five adult chaperones.
Bill Ehler, coordinator for the past 12 years, said their community is small so the kids are not exposed to diverse cultures. He added that most of the kids have never even seen a religious in a habit. So these trips are a way to help the kids broaden their perspectives.
Staying with the Sisters allows the kids to see that the Sisters are “real” people. He added that after spending time with the Sisters, the boys thought that they were very “cool.”
In addition to Cleveland, the Faith Journey group has visited our homes in Mobile and Philadelphia. Joanne Price, one of the chaperones, said that all the homes have been “top notch.” She appreciated that the Homes are clean, beautiful, and homey for the Residents and so welcoming to them.
During their week stay, the group lent themselves to Seton Food Kitchen and Lydia Home, and Sunlight African Community Center, which was especially rewarding. The program serves young immigrants and their families relocating from war-torn countries. The volunteers were impressed with how grateful and happy the kids in the program are.
While at the Home, the volunteers put on a bingo game for Residents, repainted a hallway, and prepared a meal for the Sisters and much more.
The students were a joy to have and fully immersed themselves in their service experience. One student plans to study non-profit management in college, an illustration of the positive impact service to others can have on an individual and the community where they choose to share their gifts.
If interested in volunteering at St. Mary’s please contact Volunteer Coordinator Kristen Gasieski at email@example.com.
Top: Residents enjoy guest “number callers” Karsten and Amber during afternoon bingo game.
Middle: Abbey starts off her first morning painting the hallway.
Bottom: Brother Regis and Sid share a few jokes in between games.