All members of the Divine Savior Holy Angels senior class take part in a two-week initiative serving people with a variety of needs in all corners of the local community. They are sent off and welcomed home by the entire DSHA community, including many Sisters.
Read excerpts from reflections written by a DSHA senior after her two-week VOCARE service experience.
Megan G. – House of Peace
Due to Milwaukee’s segregation the majority of the guests at the House of Peace identify as black. Within my first few days of service God opened my eyes to the fact that while I share the same ethnic background, we walk completely separate lives. I found myself feeling both angry and saddened to see my own people struggling and suffering. I hated that they were viewed as just another statistic.
It also saddened me that many of these people were born into this lifestyle and never found their way out. However, it was through that anger and frustration that God taught me a huge lesson.
By the end of my first week at House of Peace I realized that I could not be the martyr for all of the guests. I could not supply them all with jobs, a plentiful refrigerator, clothing, or a solid education. However, I could give them hope. I truly believe it was God’s work that I was assigned to the House of Peace because I’m sure that the guests being able to see someone who looks like them succeeding in life pushes them to keep trying.
Another lesson I learned through my service was that the poor don’t look poor. Society paints the image of the poor as people who are dirty, have holes in their clothing, sitting on street corners, and looking exhausted. Many of the people at the House of Peace looked like you and me. They had decent clothing, some had jobs, an iPhone, and only a few resembled the stereotypical image of the poor.
I was able to start conversation with many of the guests as we shared the same interests and had the same goals. They are common everyday people that we turn a blind eye to. I learned to not judge on physical appearance and that poverty is often invisible.
The greatest lesson God taught me through my VOCARE experience was to be grateful. VOCARE was a great reminder of all of the gifts and blessings God has offered me. No matter how long and difficult my days at the House of Peace could be, I always got in my car and drove home to a lifestyle many of the people I was serving could only dream of. I came to understand that I do not need to feel guilty for having my needs met and living a healthy lifestyle. However, as one of God’s children, it is my duty to show gratitude for my own blessings by giving myself back to the community in which I live.