By Jillian Foster, FC 20
Since sophomore year at the University of Dayton, I soon discerned that I wanted to do a year of service. That was the time I became a Human Rights major. Over the next couple years I traveled abroad to Ireland and then to Malawi, Africa. The culture and people interested me. Being very blessed throughout my life, I was particularly taken with my time in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world and whose people lived very different lives than me. I loved learning a bit of the local language, talking with the farmers and teachers, and working with two Malawian university students. What someone might guess from this is that I wanted to do a year of service and they would be right. My intention was to go abroad for several years as a volunteer.
I found out about FrancisCorps at a post-grad year of service fair at my school. While initially interested in their Costa Rica program, I unfortunately cannot speak Spanish and was therefore ineligible to go. Nonetheless, FrancisCorps had been planted. After some research, through which I knew I wanted to serve through a Catholic organization, I realized that going abroad with the organization I wanted to be with was not possible right off the bat. I started looking domestically and while it was a long discernment process, FrancisCorps stuck out because of that commitment to community, which I came to value through the Marianist education I received, and prayer. It was small, but nurturing, and could be a lot more hands-on in the sense that the volunteers would have a lot of support. And indeed we have! The community has been so welcoming which helped ease us into our new environment.
When I was first accepted into FrancisCorps, I was most excited about the faith and prayer aspect with my community. God is very important to me and I really wanted to build a firm foundation of faith through service. If you asked me now what I am most excited about, I have to say it is the surprise pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy!
Jillian is an Assistant at L’Arche. Visit our service sites page to learn more about Jillian’s site and others we offer.