“I was privileged to take part in a prayer service for Divine Savior Holy Angels High School seniors returning from VOCARE. Here, I share students’ reflections on their two-week immersion in community service. For me, their words affirm the vitality of our sponsorship ministry to foster a culture of compassion among the next generation of servant leaders.”
Sister Grace Mary Croft, SDS
Nicole (Curative Care): One thing that I would want the rest of the school to know about Vocare is that I believe the random option is truly amazing because all of your trust goes in God’s hands to put you exactly where you need to be. That is what I feel like happened for me because before Vocare, I never truly loved doing service. I always did it and felt good afterwards but never really wanted to go back or do it in my free time and I thought that was something missing in my life. I saw my classmates loving the service they were doing, and that was what I wanted in my life as well. So, I prayed about it. God answered my prayers. While I believed this before, I have been reassured that God puts each and every one of us where we need to be and that we must trust him in that moment. And what we can do in that moment is to love. Love everyone possible in the most genuine way and make sure they know it through our words but more importantly through our actions.
Faith (MCP): Vocare taught me a lot about the level of patience and dedication it takes to work as a teacher, especially with young kids. I was always exhausted by the end of the day and I honestly still don’t know how the teachers do it every single day.
Maggie (Milwaukee Catholic Home): Overall, I learned about the circle of life and the importance of compassionate care to people at the end of their journey. Although I had trouble with the site at the beginning of my experience, I was able to reflect and discover why I was there. I was able to see the characteristics of my own grandparents in the residents. I realized my work had meaning because that is how I would want others to treat my grandma, who has Alzheimer’s. These residents have families, friends, and a whole lifetime of work that should be valued and respected, even at the end of their lives.
Maria (Emerson School): One thing that I learned through my Vocare experience is the importance of an education in a kid’s life. It reinforced the idea that receiving an education and being surrounded by people who wish to see them strive, impacts the kids’ lives in such a positive way.
Isabelle (Vision Forward): Before going into Vision Forward I was prepared to be the eyes of a child and to help them with everything. However, I learned that the visually impaired are so capable and independent even at a young age. Many people think of blindness as a huge disability, but I have found that any child/adult can do whatever they set their mind to and their disability does not hold them back. I have learned that patience and calmness is a huge part of working with children. I have learned that you have to always remember that they are learning or do not understand that same way, so we must creatively and patiently think and create new ways for their understanding. Every child deserves the chance to learn no matter their disability.
Gianna (St. Rose): One big thing I learned through Vocare is that you know way way less than you think you do about anyone and anything, so you’re basically the least qualified person to judge anyone.
Julia (Bruce Guadalupe School): One thing I learned from my site is that kids in their own way can be role models for us. For example, they find joy in almost everything from making shapes with Play-Doh to playing with their classmates. Also, kids are the few people that love and accept everyone. In our society, we are often stressed and begin to dislike people because they don’t agree with our ideas. Being in a classroom with these kids has shown me that we all have the power to love our neighbors.
Emily (St. Ann’s Intergenerational, Bucyrus): One thing I learned from vocare is that service is not about yourself and what the server feels, it is about the people being served and how you make them feel.
Bella (Goodwill – Waukesha): During these past two weeks of Vocare, I learned to cherish the simple things, and was amazed by what can make people truly happy. Never once did I see a cell phone while I was at Goodwill. Real company was all that each individual needed at my site, and I was amazed to realize that that is all I need to find true happiness in every moment as well. These people wanted someone there to high five them when they won Candy Land, to read the newspaper to, or, what surprised me the most, to ask “Will you pray for me?” In each individual at Goodwill over the past two weeks, I saw genuine happiness in the same things that I overlook as opportunities to find joy in my own everyday life. I have learned to find happiness in the simple things. I realize that happiness cannot come through that happiness cannot come through a screen, but only through cherishing the presence of others. I am beyond grateful for this experience!
Part II of the Young Women’s Reflections can be found here in a few days.