By: Ari Alvarez
Ari is from Clayton, CA and graduated from St. Mary's College in 2015 with a degree in Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies. Ari is living in the St. Louis community and working as a campus minister at loretto-founded high school, Nerinx Hall.
Realizing that I am halfway through my Loretto experience, I can’t believe how fast time has gone…and how slow it has gone. These past five or so months have come with great highs and great lows. But, the most freeing realization is the acceptance that this is to be expected. I am growing, and sometimes growing is painful. My time away from home has made me grow in a deep love and appreciation for my family and friends. I always knew I won the lottery with those I call family and friends, but now, my gratitude towards them is beyond me.
Coping with these emotions has been a process. Yet, the most healing practice that has helped me feel appreciated and loved, all while challenging me to honestly communicate my appreciation towards others, is letter writing. Everything from picking the right stationary for each person, the decorating of the envelope, the emphasizing of words and sentences through the thickening strokes of your pen. There is an intimate intention behind it all. There is such a thrill to realizing you’ve received an envelope in the mail with your name on it; a response to all the questions you had asked, all the emotions you had spilled out, all the stories you shared.
Letter writing requires more effort than a quick typing of words and clicking of a send button. It takes thought, time, effort, and patience. Letter writing is a detail of this experience that I will take with me everywhere I go. Therefore, because of how healing this has been for me, I thought it’d be appropriate to write a letter to a future volunteer;
Dear extraordinary you,
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.