Meet the Service Corps
IVC Baltimore has over 30 Service Corps Members. Here are the stories of a few…
Peggy Gessler, M.D. (since 2020), Project PLASE
As the Linkage to Care Coordinator, I volunteer in Project PLASE’s temporary housing facilities. I work with the Health Education Workshop team to provide monthly health education workshops to the residents. I search for community resources that align with the current health education workshop topic for sharing during the presentations. I also assist with creating and editing the presentations. Once we can safely meet in-person, I will also meet with the residents to provide one-on-one community resource support. All of this has been done remotely via Zoom meetings which has been challenging! The residents ask great questions but it would be easier to meet them in person so I can tailor their needs to the vast community resources available to them. It has been eye opening to learn about the many resources and nonprofits that work in Baltimore City! The IVC community is warm, welcoming, inspiring, and supportive with thought provoking discussions. I feel I am gaining so much more than I am giving!
Carole Rybicki (since 2019), Loyola Early Learning Center
As Assistant to the Director for Mission & Identity, I spend time in each of six classrooms reading bible stories and singing Jesus songs. When I spend time with the children, one often exclaims: today is Jesus Day because Ms Carole is here! My main work is to be an inspiration, example, and resource for teachers and staff on Ignatian principles, especially “people for and with others” and “finding God in all things”. To that end, I organized and led an all-staff Day of Reflection at the start of the school year. Nothing but the highest of praise for the dedication and wisdom of Fr. Watters, the founder of LELC, the involvement of the teachers, and of course, the little children themselves. All 50 of them have become my “adopted grand-children”.
Ed Sabin (since 2015), Project PLASE
As a Data Administrator, I do an administrative report each week (from home) listing incomplete data for clients on PLASE’s (People Lacking Ample Shelter and Employment) internal electronic data system. I also develop proposals to local foundations to fund the remodeling of a former parochial school, PLASES’s main site. Mostly, I’m faithful- showing up over the long haul and making what I hope is a unique contribution to this great enterprise. PLASE’s founder and present director, Mary Slicher, is a living saint. I hope some of her holiness and commitment will rub off on me. A good attitude for every volunteer is “I’m here to make myself useful!” That’s the job!
Robbie Sabin (since 2015), Caroline Center
As an Instructor, I teach women from disadvantaged backgrounds in mathematics needed for their future professional roles as Certified Nursing Assistants. I meet each woman in the program in 2 scheduled classes each week and individually, as needed, for tutoring. Many come to the program unsure that they can succeed and doubting they can “do” math. Their dedication and determination are awesome. When they succeed, their excitement and pride are explosive! I believe the IVC monthly meetings, with the emphasis on the meaning of our service, are important for me. It is a blessing to find a group with whom I have so much in common. In the past year of isolation, it has been invaluable to hear the stories of others and be encouraged by their faith-filled response to the challenges of COVID, growing older, and making meaningful contributions. The faith of others lifts me up. IVC is unique. I am so glad we found it!
Louise Wright (since 2012), Franciscan Center
As an Outreach Counselor, I interview, register, and assess clients’ needs and then help with- birth certificates, social security cards, MVA IDs, dental referrals, prescription co-pay assistance, mailbox services, referrals for shelter or housing, and referrals for energy assistance or eviction prevention. After the COVID shutdown in March, all staff over age 65 were asked to stay home. Most of the staff continued their work throughout COVID, in spite of the risks. I resumed seeing clients in September, when more was known about COVID. Counseling is done outdoors, all wear masks (the center distributes masks daily with meals), and at safe distances in a tent set-up in the parking lot. So often in a brief encounter with a guest, I’m amazed at the gratitude expressed! The truth is- in volunteering one receives more than one gives.