When you do the common things in life in an included a haunted hayride, low ropes course, canoeing,uncommon way, you will command the attention of basketball, fireside chats, and decorating journals.the world. --George Washington CarverOver the past few months the MercyWorks volunteershave fully transitioned into their job placements and havefurther explored the five program values—professionaldevelopment, community, simple living, social justiceand spirituality. They continue to develop theirprofessional skills each day. In addition to learning on-the-job from co-workers and supervisors, the volunteershave participated in nearly 90 hours of training, includingCPR, first aid, crisis prevention, conceptual framework ofcare, and youth care worker certification. The volunteershave been busy getting to know the youth throughtutoring, goal-setting, visiting with families, teaching lifeskills such as cooking and cleaning, and participating inmany activities at Mercy Home and around Chicago. The 2010-2011 MercyWorks volunteers at the ice rinkRecent activities with the youth have included aThanksgiving dinner celebration hosted in the new In addition to community nights and Fall retreat, othercafeteria at the Hay Boys Campus, cheering on Chicago special events have provided opportunities for spendingsports teams, attending theatrical performances, and time with one another and building relationships. Twelvegiving back to others through volunteering at local non- of the volunteers helped out at RingSide for Mercy’sprofit agencies that serve children, families and the Sake. The volunteers hosted Thanksgiving dinner in theelderly. MercyWorks apartment and welcomed friends, family and co-workers. They hosted friends, family and alumniDue to the volunteers’ varying work schedules, at a liturgy and brunch on the second Sunday of Advent.Wednesday community nights have remained a sacred They decorated the apartment for Christmas and helpedtime to share a meal with one another and examine the out at holiday celebrations for the Friends First menteesprogram values. Community nights have included and mentors, AfterCare members, and the residents ofexploring spirituality and prayer life, viewing the film King Mercy Home. Most of the volunteers will take some timeCorn and discussing the implications of daily choices as off around the Christmas holiday to reconnect with familyconsumers, learning about hunger around the world and and friends back home.distributing food to the homeless, attending a talk aboutsex trafficking at St. Xavier University, examining gangs Did You Know?and their impact on the lives of the youth of MercyHome, attending a talk about the death penalty at St. 58 of the 112 MercyWorks alumni have stayed on as full-Clement Church, bowling, and ice skating in Millennium time paid employees after their service year.Park. 70 of the 112 MercyWorks alumni have gone on toA four day Fall retreat in Burlington, Wisconsin allowed receive an advanced degree.for some time away to reflect on the MercyWorks values.The group reflected on their work and community. The 126 current and former MercyWorks volunteersCoworkers Tom Gilardi, Daniel Nelson and Lori Kinast have come from 53 different colleges. 22 volunteersconducted sessions on the retreat and provided have come from the University of Notre Dame, 9 haveinvaluable feedback and advice. The volunteers had come from University of Dayton and 7 have come fromtheir first reflection and mass with Father Gary. Other Marquette University.activities
Being A Witness To Another’s Life Alumni UpdatesI have come to realize that what I really came to Chicago Joanna Griebel (’01-’02) is living and working in Losfor was a sense of legitimacy in my life. After sixteen Angeles, CA. She works for Sony Pictures Imageworksplus years of study and learning, I wanted action and as a Production Assistant. She is currently working ondoing. I wanted to experience the things I had read the movie Green Lantern which is due out next Summer.about in classes for years—the places, the people, thepolitics. I didn’t want to entirely give up my contemplative Matt Pilon (’03-’04) was married to Alicia Judkins thislife, though. That’s where the MercyWorks Volunteer summer in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Father ScottProgram came in. celebrated the wedding ceremony.While still allowing me to express my theoretic reflection Liz Bomgaars (’03-’04) is engaged and set to getside, volunteering at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls has married in June 2011.challenged me to develop my practical action side. Itwas a transition for sure, but having the opportunity to do Javier Herrera (’04-05) recently passed the Texas bardirect service with the youth of Chicago has really been exam and is working at his father’s law firm in Sana blessing. Antonio, Texas.Sure, I could have found a job somewhere and helped Jean Fitzgerald (’04-’05) is in her second year of athe causes I believed in with my finances, but I have Masters in Teaching in Art Education at the School offound that I personally don’t learn or grow from that. No, the Art Institute of Chicago. She will be visiting schoolsfor me to understand how something (in this case in Haiti in January as part of her thesis research onresidential social work with at-risk youth) works, I have to students relationships with books and literacy. You canimmerse myself in it. My experience has to pull me out of see some of her own book sculptures on exhibit throughmy comfort zone, throw me into the lives of the youth, January at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center inand stretch my awareness of the world. Brooklyn, New York. To follow all of her artistic antics and musings, you can visit her blog:How does this happen? Through seeing my youth come www.heartjean.blogspot.com.home from school everyday, bubbling with energybecause they got on their high school basketball team or After seven years of dating, Becka Lutz (’05-’06) is nowbrooding over a poor test score. By celebrating their engaged! Her fiancée, Phil, recently proposed to hercompletion of a science project, mourning their loss of a while on a trip to Chile.friend, and letting them scream and yell at me when theyare frustrated. This is the only way for me to truly test my Karen Sarmir (’07-’08) will be graduating from thetextbook knowledge, to see if what I think I know about University of Michigan with her Masters in Social Work ththe world lines up with reality. on December 18 . Upon graduating, she will be working for the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater MichiganDirect service isn’t really about helping people at all. Chapter.Direct service is about removing the layers people placebetween themselves and others and interacting with John Paffen (’08-‘09) is living and working inanother human being—it’s about being a witness to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the Enrollmentanother’s life. Manager at the ESF Dream Camp Foundation. Rachel is a graduate of St. Norbert’s Rachel Feerick (’09-’10) recently accepted a job at College and is originally from Colby, Alaska Crossings as a Field Guide. She will be doing Wisconsin. She is currently serving as a behavior modification while guiding 13-18 year old youth Youth Care Worker in Daley Home. in the wilderness while canoeing, backpacking, and She enjoys writing and took some time mountaineering. to reflect on her experience as a MercyWorks volunteer during the past four months. 10 for $10 Challenge and Reunion Giving Upcoming Events In honor of the MercyWorks Volunteer Program’s 10th anniversary and reunion, MercyWorks hosted a “10 forDecember 16-22 Holiday Celebrations for Youth $10 challenge” and also solicited donations through the and AfterCare Members mail. Many thanks to alumni, their friends and family thatFebruary 6-9 Winter Retreat at LaSalle Manor made donations. $4,300 was raised in honor of the 10thMarch 12 Shamrocks for Kids anniversary. Special recognition goes to the 2004-2005TBA Spring Quarterly Liturgy MercyWorks volunteers who raised $1,230.