Sharon Zandell, Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Mary’s Home, Chicago
The Little Sisters care for the elderly throughout the world. St Mary’s Home is located in the DePaul/Lakeview area of Chicago. The facility includes apartments for ambulatory seniors and rooms in which nursing care is provided. My main contacts are the Volunteer Coordinator and the Activities Director. This is my second IVC assignment.
On my assigned days, I usually arrive before 8a and assist serving breakfast, clearing dishes from the table and refreshing the tea/sugar containers. On Wednesday, after breakfast, I help with vegetable peeling and work alongside volunteers from other organizations. After 11a Mass, I assist with meal service for the noon meal (“dinner”), the main meal of the day.
In the afternoon and on Friday mornings, I assist with the Activity program. This includes a variety of mental orientation (word/number games), entertainment (movies, Bingo), and arts and crafts. I particularly enjoy working with the residents in making rosaries, jewelry, drawing, and paper craft. Rosaries are sent to missions in various countries. Crafts are used to decorate the dining room, hallways and residents’ rooms. For Christmas, we made paper wreaths and ornaments.
I also have the opportunity to “teach” an art class once a week. I particularly like to design and make bead jewelry with the residents. I usually make 2-3 samples to show to them and then help them to choose the color and combination of beads they want to make an individualized necklace and/or bracelet. I also like to introduce them to different drawing techniques, such as, acrylic pour, paper mosaics and dot drawings. Several residents have shared their work with family/friends.
I enjoy helping the residents at mealtime and with various activities. My background as a registered nurse makes it easy to determine the type of physical and/or mental assistance each one needs. Residents and staff welcome me and greet me by my name. I also appreciate being in a religious environment and the opportunity to attend Mass during the week.
Mike Reidy, Cristo Rey St. Martin High School, Waukegan, IL
I provide support to the department that provides the work opportunities to the students. That support consists of the following:
Grading time cards which are reports provided by the students after each time they work. The grading is based on the level of reflection on their experience and the writing. We also report the number and students who are not submitting their reports on time.
Coaching those students who are either struggling at their current work assignment or who have been fired from their assignment. We use the book Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens as an outline for these talks. Each session reviews a chapter in the book and the student makes a presentation on what they have learned at the end of the coaching period.
Coaching students who are successful at their work assignments but are late on submitting time cards. They are required to meet with me after their work assignment to write and submit their time card. Other volunteers assist me in doing this.
Conducting brief seminars in the morning before they go to work. I have conducted seminars on time management, ethics and relaxation techniques. I work with one of the full-time coaches on scheduling these.
Lessons Learned/Perspectives Gained
I have gained an appreciation of the values & behavior that Cristo Rey St. Martin and the work study department is trying to teach these kids. I wish I had some of this when I was in high school. I also appreciate the support of the families and some of the employers provide to these young adults. It really does take a village to get this generation up out of poverty.
As I go through the 7 Habits book and the ‘Rubric’ of Cristo Rey, I understand that I have to apply these to my life in order to effectively coach these kids. Although scoundrels do sometimes succeed, they usually don’t prevail and in the long run, bring disgrace to their families and friends.
I have also been impressed with the other IVC volunteers’ and the variety of service they provide. These people are like a small army, battling the racist, materialistic, violent, cruel forces of this world and keeping their communities from completely falling apart and without much public recognition.
Shannon Daehn, Communications Intern
How/why did you pick Loyola?
Picking a college for me started with figuring out my career path. I was a yearbook editor in high school and loved it, so my original thought was to go into magazine design. My yearbook advisor suggested I look into advertising as a career path based off my passions for branding each year’s book and focus on telling the story of our school. The more I read about the advertising world, the more right it felt. So as I started my college search, I looked at schools that had an advertising major. I didn’t think I wanted to be in a big city, but Loyola had a great program so I decided to give it a look. I knew this was the school for me from the first time I stepped foot on campus. I’m so glad I made the choice to come here!
Tell us a bit about your family and where you are from.
I grew up in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota which is about 20 minutes north of Minneapolis. I went to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School for K-8 and then public school for high school. There are four of us in the family – my mom and dad, my sister Erin, and myself. My parents both work in banking/finance, and my sister graduated from UW-Madison in May 2019 with a bachelor’s in biological systems engineering (agricultural engineering) and now works for a dairy processor in Wisconsin.
You’re a junior. What is your major? Do you have any thoughts on what you would like to do after college?
I’m majoring in creative advertising with minors in marketing and Spanish. My goal after graduation is to be a copywriter for an advertising agency, writing headlines, taglines, and body copy for advertisements.
As the IVC communications intern, what are you doing?
I help out with the monthly e-newsletter – formatting all of the sections and finding photos to go along with them. I’ve also been working on the IVC Chicago Facebook page, posting about once a week with a reflection or prayer for the week and keeping up with the volunteer sites Facebook posts. (Give us a follow 😉!) This next semester, I’ll be helping with the website and the reception in April.
Besides helping IVC, you are very involved with a number of things at Loyola. What are they?
I do keep busy on campus! This is my second year as a resident assistant in Mertz Hall. I have about 40 freshmen girls on my floor, and the building has about 800 freshmen students total. It definitely keeps me on my toes! I’m also one of the communications interns for Quinlan School of Business downtown. For them I write news items and short feature stories about students and alumni for the website, run their LinkedIn page, and do website updates as needed. Outside of work things, I am on the events committee for Agape Latte which is a once a month event where a campus leader comes to talk about their life and faith, and the secretary for Advertising Club. I keep pretty busy, but I love all the things I do!
What role have the Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality played in your life thus far?
Before coming to Loyola, I didn’t know much at all about the Jesuits or Ignatian spirituality. My freshman year I went on the Loyola 360 retreat which is pretty much a crash course in Ignatian spirituality, and I fell in love! The Ignatian way of approaching life is wonderful – it allows me to focus more on the small joys of life rather than on the big stressors. Loyola’s mission to “Find God in All Things” helps me to consider where God shows up in all aspects of my life. One example that we use a lot as RAs is when you get called at 4am for a kid that lost their keys, rather than be upset that you got called to get them a key, be glad that they made it home safe and you were able to help them during a stressful time. Changing my thinking in small ways like that help keep everything in perspective!
From your work thus far with us, what strikes/impresses you about IVC?
One of the first things that struck me about IVC is the incredible faithfulness and generosity of the volunteers. Every month as I’m reading the volunteer profiles and reflections for the newsletter, I’m always impressed by the mindset that the volunteers have in the work they do for others. Each person brings a unique gift to both IVC and their volunteer organization, and that’s a beautiful thing!
Read more volunteer profiles in the archives.