November 15, 2016
By Sr. Melissa Waters, OP
Dear Dominican Students, One and All,
My blog here focuses on YOU and on an opportunity that could provide you great experience and happiness after graduation – becoming a Dominican volunteer! Future employers or graduate schools smile upon candidates who have taken such a special time giving to others before moving into their graduate work or the careers they have prepared for through their respective majors.
Sarah Gromek Hammel is an example. Sarah graduated in 2014 with a major in Corporate Communication. She applied to be a Dominican Volunteer early in the spring of her senior year and in late summer went to the Dominican Volunteer orientation and then to her place of ministry in Atlanta, Georgia, where through Catholic Charities she ministered to refugee families while living in community with Dominican Sisters at Penn House there. She really valued her experience!
After this remarkable year for her, Sarah got married and moved to the Baltimore area where she continues working in social services, building on all she learned at Dominican through her studies and her strong role in Community-based Learning, both in the field and as a coordinator in the Community-based Learning office.
Brian Manjarrez graduated in 2015 with a major in Psychology; he became a Dominican Volunteer and gained great satisfaction working at a social service center in Racine, Wisconsin, where he welcomed people in need, getting them to the kind of help they needed at this center. Brian lived with Dominican Sisters in a community there. Presently he is working while in classes at Dominican in the Graduate School of Social Work. He has told me how this life-giving Dominican Volunteer experience le him to become a social worker.
Holly Sammon graduated in 2015 with a major in Political Science and is presently in her second year as a Dominican Volunteer, serving in an ecology center in Adrian, Michigan where she pursues her interest in the environment and sustainability and lives in a community of Dominicans.
Dominican volunteers receive housing, insurance and a monthly stipend as they serve others. They gain friendships too, especially with the other volunteers in the communities with whom they live.
Significantly for us here at Dominican is our knowing other former Dominican Volunteers through the years who include Claire Noonan, our Vice President for Mission and Ministry, and her husband, Tony Schmitz. Claire also ministered in Atlanta, Georgia, but at the St. Vincent de Paul Society there, while Tony helped at Visitation, an inner city school on the south side of Chicago, where now, as a lawyer, he continues to volunteer, helping with legal matters. Not only did Claire and Tony meet as Dominican Volunteers but they “found each other” and are now a “dynamite couple”!
I invite any student – especially junior and seniors who might be interest in looking into this life-changing opportunity – to see John DeCostanza or Ann Hillman in University Ministry OR make an appointment to see Claire Noonan herself.