Sister Carolyn Jost, SSND, joins staff at Providence Family Services
There’s a new face at Providence Family Services (PFS) in Chicago, and it seems to fit right in with the existing team.
Sister Carolyn Jost, SSND, joined the staff of Providence Family Services in August as the new coordinator of the homework club and computer teacher. She replaces long-term coordinator Sister Dorothy Gartland.
Sister Carolyn, a native Chicagoan, brings a strong background to the role, having spent many years in education as a teacher and principal. She has also worked with adults in a Catholic parish as a director of religious education and has most recently served as vocation minister, promoting her religious congregation, the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Carolyn holds a B.A. in Education from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wis. and an M.A. in Theology and Religious Education from Aquinas Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich.
In her new role, Sister Carolyn will be recruiting and overseeing volunteer tutors, most of whom are college students from area colleges. In the same role she will oversee homework help for the 50 children signed up for the homework club, many who may have parents who do not speak English well enough to help them. Sister Carolyn will also teach an introductory computer class to adults.
Providence Family Services, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., and a division of Guerin Outreach Ministries, serves the mostly-Spanish-speaking Humboldt Park area of Chicago. In addition to the computer classes and homework, PFS provides English-language instruction, citizenship classes and bi-lingual counseling, all free or at reduced rates.
Providence Family Services Director and Founder Sister Patty Fillenwarth is grateful to have Sister Carolyn on board and appreciates that Sister Carolyn is whole-hearted, enthusiastic and very present to the people PFS serves.
“She has new, fresh ideas. She’s creative, and she has a lot of energy. She works with our tutors very well, and she has been able to recruit quite a few. She lets the students know she means business, but she does it in a very warm and friendly way,” said Sister Patty.
Sister Carolyn is drawn to the mission of PFS as well.
“Providence Family Services is an amazing place. There is so much going on here every day. Services are offered to people in this neighborhood to support them and enable them to have a better life,” she said.
Sister Carolyn is happy about the contribution she is able to make to PFS.
“The life skills I have can be used here to help people who need them,” Sister Carolyn said.
“I feel that I am using my time and my talents to make a difference in the lives of the children and families here. I also enjoy interacting with the college students and hearing about all their hopes and dreams for their future,” she said.
An added benefit to the addition of Sister Carolyn to the staff is the continued presence of Sister Dorothy Gartland, who had led the homework club program since its inception. Sister Dorothy remains as a program volunteer.
“Sister Dorothy has been very generous in giving her time to help me organize the program. Because she knows the students and families so well, she advises me as we go along. She is still involved and tutors once a week. Having her here is an invaluable asset for me and for the program. I’m really glad for her presence and her help,” Sister Carolyn said.
“I’m enjoying having less responsibility, that’s for sure. I do miss being with the children more and working with the young adults from the college, but everything else I’m glad to be free of,” Sister Dorothy laughed.
“Sister Carolyn is a very capable woman. I think she is doing a great job. She is a very hard worker and dedicated and concerned about the children and young people who come in. I’m just glad she is here,” Sister Dorothy said.
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.