Caroline is a Loretto Volunteer serving as an instructor at Academy of Hope, an adult education nonprofit.
What have you been doing at your placement?
My placement is an adult education and workforce development nonprofit called Academy of Hope. I lead adult education classes for adults who are planning to take the GED or who are working toward getting their high school diploma. I teach math, reading, science, and computers. I also spend some time doing one-on-one tutoring and planning events with student leaders at AoH.
What is one thing you love about community living?
I enjoy the support that I feel from each of my community members and their challenge to keep working hard at whatever I am doing. My community is there for me when I have difficult days and they laugh with me on easier days. I love that community living makes space for this support along with creating a space in which community members can respectfully challenge themselves and others.
What has been one surprise, challenge or learning this year?
One thing that I am still learning is how to adjust to a new year. As a second year volunteer, it has been a challenge (but a fun one) to let go of old customs and habits to create a new space with a new community. I have really enjoyed the ways in which I have connected with my community by being open to that transition.
What do you value about your relationship with the Loretto Community?
Since I was introduced to the Loretto community almost five years ago, I have always had a strong connection to its members’ commitment to peace and justice. Each person involved in Loretto has a unique story and perspective on how to live out peace and justice, and I love that I am part of a community that is willing to share those stories and support me as I work to live out Loretto values.
What advice do you have for someone considering doing a year of service?
Be flexible! It’s great to have expectations, and it’s impossible to not have expectations. My advice would be to keep an open mind and try to find a balance between compromise and sticking to the things that are really important to who you are. That balance is certainly something I will be working toward my whole life, but the more I work at it, the more I have been able to form deep and meaningful relationships.
The Loretto Volunteer Program pairs young adults with social justice organizations for a formative year of service. Through meaningful work and communal living, volunteers live out the Loretto Community's mission to work for justice and act for peace - guided by the core values of social justice, community, simplicity and spirituality. Winner of the 2013 Call To Action Leadership Award, the Loretto Volunteer Program proudly prepares young adults to begin lives of public service.
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