My FrancisCorps journey began as all good journeys do: with a crisis. Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. I was in college, working on two degrees (in physics and astronomy). On top of that, I was involved in many extracurriculars and held quite a few leadership roles. I was managing (or trying to manage) all this, when one day during adoration a little voice inside my head asked me what I was doing to make the world a better place. Was I really utilizing the gifts God had given me? Sure, I was involved in my campus community, but the direct service I was once so active in wasn’t feasible with my chaotic college schedule. After about a month of wrestling with this, I discerned that I was being called to embrace more service in my life. So, I decided to take a service gap year before going to get my PhD as a means of recentering myself. I’ll be honest, I initially looked at programs that had no faith aspect, simply because I naively assumed that all religious-based service programs must be rooted in neo-colonialist ideals. However, thanks to some nudging from my spiritual director, I created an account on the Catholic Volunteer Network, found FrancisCorps, and the rest is history.
I think what excites me most about FrancisCorps is the opportunity to invest myself and my God-given gifts in the Syracuse community. Being the first volunteer placed at the Catholic Charities preschool program did seem daunting at first, but now I’m just really excited to wake up and spend each day with my students and show them just as much of God’s love as I can. In just these three months, I am already so close with each kid, and watching how they’ve all grown in this short amount of time has been amazing. The support I’ve received from the rest of the teaching staff has made me feel so welcome, like I’m a part of their family. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine leaving. And that strong bond with both those I serve and those I serve with is exactly what drew me to FrancisCorps. Being a part of FrancisCorps has fostered God’s love in me more than I ever could have imagined, and I can’t wait to see how I continue to grow.
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