Providence teen volunteer grows closer to God by serving others
My name is Pia Carino. I’m 17 and a junior at Terre Haute South Vigo High School. Volunteering at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods as a teen minister has been an integral part of my life. I cherish it and hold it dear to my heart.
God calls us to serve in many ways. That could be through sharing God’s word, sharing one’s talent and even small acts of kindness throughout the day. I was only in middle school when Sister Joni Luna, a Sister of Providence and my teacher at the time, asked me if I would volunteer with a program she had started at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
At first, I was a bit apprehensive and not quite sure what I was getting myself into. But I knew that I wanted to serve. And that was enough for me to say “yes” to her and to God’s calling.
I have now come to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for teen volunteer opportunities many times throughout the years and throughout my summers. It gives me a sense of joy to be able to bring a little bit of happiness to these sisters who were barely able to have visitors. It feels like a way of giving back. And it was meaningful since these sisters were the foundations and builders of this community I call home. During rigid Covid restrictions, I could hardly come to the Woods and serve due to the strict regulations of the time. And I felt a void in my heart because of it. I had not realized how much joy coming here and serving had brought me until I could no longer do it.
It was also here that my love for music was strengthened tenfold. I came to find that I often took for granted the gift that God had given me. Playing the piano for the sisters helped me realize how the little things we don’t think much of can brighten a person’s day, reminding them of times in their lives. The last time I visited the Woods, I was playing simple tunes on the piano while the sisters passed around pretty colorful scarves. The sisters were talking about themselves and reflecting. And one of them told me my music took her back to important times in her life as a teacher. It struck me to my core, almost bringing me to tears. I was using a gift that I took for granted. And it was transporting people back to some of the happiest times in their lives. I knew that music evoked emotions and memories, but I didn’t realize that my music could have that same effect.
Volunteering here has helped me reach into the depths of my mind and soul. It has made me realize how much serving my community and making others happy means to me. This experience has made me so much closer to God as I use my God-given gifts to serve people, just as God always wanted. I love the gifts I was given and never again will I take them for granted. God has laid a path in front of me and I am his humble servant.
Do you know someone ages 12-18 who would like to share their time with our elders this summer? Sign up for our Teen Volunteer summer opportunities here!