The many gifts of volunteering
I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. Every summer I had the privilege of visiting my godmother Auntie Joni Luna. My auntie is a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana. With every summer came a new visit. With every visit I gained a better understanding of myself and of serving others from my heart. The first few years our visits were family trips to visit Auntie Joni and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Woods. Then Auntie Joni helped create a Teen Volunteer opportunity. It helps youth, like myself, gain a better understanding of the Sisters of Providence, their mission and the meaning of serving.
During our volunteer times at the Woods, we attended rosary with elder sisters. We played games with them, took the sisters to visit Saint Mother Theodore’s shrine and learned about White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. Every summer I looked forward to our visit to the Woods. The bonds created are irreplaceable. I was able to hear about how some of the sisters stood up for civil rights during the 1960s and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. And, about how others have fought tirelessly for social justice and strive to be a voice for the voiceless. I learned that everything the sisters do is done out of kindness for each other and the community of Saint Mary of-the-Woods. I know my time spent at the Woods serving with the Sisters of Providence has helped prepare me for college. It has given me a better understanding of myself and the love, kindness and service I have to offer others.
I was recently blessed with a scholarship. The scholarship is $12,000 per year and will help me pay to attend The University of Texas at Austin. When I applied for this scholarship I attached my scholar high school resumé, SAT scores, perfect GPA, top 4 percent ranking and endless amount of clubs and extracurricular activities that I was involved with the last four years. I also included my time and service as a member of the Teen Ministry Program at Saint Mary’s of-the-Woods. The scholarship team awarded me the $12,000 scholarship. They told me it was my service and time at the Woods with sisters that set me apart from other applicants.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunities that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and the Sisters of Providence have given me. Some may think my time at the Woods was serving the Sisters of Providence. But to me, the Woods and the Sisters of Providence have served me and my heart. I am a better person because of my time with the Sisters of Providence.