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Imogen Anderson: The exceptional exception to the rule

Imogen Anderson is an exceptional volunteer who is actually a real life exception to the rule. Although the 16-year-old junior at Terre Haute North High School doesn’t yet meet the minimum age requirement to volunteer for the Sisters of Providence, she is able to help the Congregation because she has met the “exception to the rule” criteria outlined in the sisters’ age policy.

When asked what she gets from volunteering her answer is short: “A warm heart, I learn new things, a fulfillment of joy.”

Sister Laurine Haley visits with a teen volunteer

Imogen first began giving her time and talents to the Sister of Providence through the Volunteer Teen Ministry which was organized by Sister Joni Luna, SP. Her mother Casey Kellum, a graphic designer in the Mission Advancement department for the Sisters of Providence, heard about the new program and encouraged Imogen to participate.

“This was my very first volunteering at the Woods with Sister Joni,” Imogen said. “I worked with the program when it was a pilot program and have been working with Sister Joni ever since.”

The program provides group opportunities for 12-18 year olds to interact with sisters in healthcare through a variety of fun activities. As an original participant in the group, Imogen has take on a variety of tasks. “Some of my responsibilities are to help the new volunteers, help with direction, lead the teams, assist with the sisters, and show everyone the ropes. “

Christmas Fun at the Woods, 2019, Volunteer Imogen Anderson face paints.

Imogen has also served in a variety of other ways for the Sisters of Providence. If you’ve ever been to Christmas Fun at the Woods or the Earth Day Festival & Craft Fair, you might have seen her at the always popular face painting booth.

She knows how to sew and even helped a sister hem her pants. She has also worked in the Mission Advancement office taking photos and helping to organize the large photo database.

Sister Rebecca Keller, volunteer coordinator for the Sisters of Providence, knows that Imogen is someone she can rely upon.

“Imogen is so full of life!!!  She enthusiastically and generously volunteers in any way that is helpful to us … and she is warm and loving to all those she helps,” Sister Rebecca said.

Most recently, Imogen has been helping serve meals to the sisters alongside her mother as sisters are no longer permitted to serve themselves in the buffet-style meal during the current pandemic. She really enjoys interacting with them.

Imogen Anderson serving breakfast drinks to Sister Teresa Costello.

“Volunteering this month during breakfast, Sister Agnes Maureen Badura gave me an ‘A triple plus,’ because I remembered her drink order every morning I was there, which is only twice a week,” Imogen said. “Sister Adele Beacham takes her water, half-hot and half-cold, LOL! In the morning, when Sister Adele gets her tray, she always says, ‘let me get my feet going in the right direction.’ She is so cute. It’s hard for me to not laugh.”

Her care for the community extends well beyond the Sisters of Providence. Imogen, who has been in the Air Force Junior ROTC program since her freshman year, also has volunteered for events including “Race for the Cure,” “MS Walk,” “Fall Carnival,” for Dixie Bee and Rio Grande elementary schools, Easter Egg hunt for Remnant Church and Operation Christmas with the Tribune-Star.

She has also volunteered at The Helping Hands in West Terre Haute, which had some unexpected side benefits.

“This was also one of my first volunteer jobs. I sorted through what seemed like millions of clothes. The best part was I walked out with almost a new wardrobe,” Imogen said.

The future is bright for this talented teen. When asked what she hopes to carry away with her from her time volunteering, her answer was simple. 

“I enjoy working with people and learning new things. In the future, I can tell people ‘this is what I did,’” Imogen said. “It shows what I can do and did and that I do not just sit at home all the time. I can change a person’s life, just by volunteering a few hours and spending time with them.”

Sisters of Providence Volunteer Age Policy

The minimum age requirement for a volunteer with the Sisters of Providence is 18 years old.  There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Here are the specific directives that must be followed for a person volunteering who is under the minimum age of 18 years old:

16 to 17 years: A prospective volunteer, 16 to 17 years old, is required to have the written consent of a parent or legal guardian. In addition, it must be understood by both the prospective volunteer and the parent or legal guardian that first three volunteer times are probationary.

14 to 16 years: A parent or legal guardian must accompany and be with his or her 14 to 16 year old son or daughter who is volunteering.  Groups in this 14 to 16 year old age range, who desire to volunteer, must have one chaperone for each five volunteers.

14 years and under: There are no exceptions for persons under 14 years old who want to volunteer.

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Mary Riley

Mary Riley

Mary Riley is director of operations for White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, a ministry of the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Prior to her current role, she served as the marketing manager for some ministries of the Sisters of Providence including White Violet Center for Eco-Justice and the Volunteer Services.

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  1. Avatar S. Denise Wilkinson on April 25, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Proud to know you, Imogen. A huge thank you for being so generous and fun.

  2. Avatar Jenny Howard on April 25, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Thanks, Imogen, for your presence with us here at the Woods!

  3. Avatar Sister Paula Damiano on April 25, 2020 at 10:39 am

    An amazing young woman. Thank you.

  4. Avatar Cole Kellum on April 25, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    So very proud of our granddaughter Imogen. She is such a giving, generous and amazing young lady.
    Great job M. !

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