/ 16. June 2010 04:29
I have had the opportunity this year to serve in two sites: the Saint Vincent de Paul Village in San Diego and Hogar Infantil la Gloria in Tijuana. The Saint Vincent de Paul Village is a center for formerly homeless families and individuals that provides services ranging from health care and education to legal help. The Hogar Infantil la Gloria is an orphanage that provides a home about forty-five children. At the Village, I work in a preschool and do after-school tutoring. In the orphanage, I have done various jobs, but I would say my focus there has also been on tutoring and homework help. The service I do usually makes me reflect on the inadequacy of my actions and can leave me questioning the value of my service and wondering how I can truly help the people I serve. Yet I have seen God in the work that those around me have been doing in their service. Even little things that my co-workers do can make such a huge difference in the lives of the children we work with. The love they show every day reminds me of God’s love and helps me to remember my call to show that love to others.
At the Village, I see God in the love and devotion my boss Jayne shows to the children we tutor. She has an incredible ability to help children enjoy learning and to want to come to tutoring. I am often amazed by the way she can calm a child who is overwhelmed by his homework or refusing to read and coax them into staying on task. In the preschool class I work in, I see God in the way that the teachers calmly deal with the behavioral problems that come up every day and lovingly teach the children.
At the orphanage, my housemate Anne has been giving guitar lessons to the older kids that teaches them a skill they can be proud of builds up strong relationships with them. The visits my other housemates make to the orphanage, sacrificing their Saturdays off and effectively giving themselves a six day work week, have given the children more friends and role models. I see God in the way Brother Fernando, the Augustinian at the site, works with the children, teaching them everything from letters and numbers to religion, and giving them projects that help with their development. Most of all, I think of my bosses, Dan and Jesse, and the way they have become fathers to the children, and shown them the kind of love that God calls us all to give. When I look back at my year, I think of the incredible changes in behavior I have seen in many of the children. Children who once physically attacked the adults who work here now don’t stop hugging us. I know this is because of the home provided by the employees and volunteers here, and I am truly blessed to have been a part of it.
San Diego 2009-2010