We join in celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing reflections from current Precious Blood Volunteers and alumnae. Enjoy!
Precious Blood Volunteers alumna, Lina Guerrero, with Sister Donna at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago
Allison Spraul, a current Precious Blood Volunteer, sharing her reasons for serving
To learn more about serving as a Precious Blood Volunteer go to our website www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org
Former Precious Blood Volunteer, Ryan Cornelissen, tutoring a student at Cristo Rey Kansas City High School
by Tim Deveney, Director of Precious Blood Volunteers
I am excited to announce that we will have six and possibly seven new volunteers this coming volunteer cycle. They are a well-accomplished group with varied backgrounds, work experience, interests, and educational training. They will bring energy, youth, experience, and passion to the Precious Blood community and to the people they serve.
This group of volunteers will be living and working in Kansas City and Chicago serving and walking with people who have been marginalized in our society. In Kansas City we will have volunteers serving at KC CARE Clinic, Cristo Rey Kansas City High School, and St. James Place (part of the Bishop Sullivan Center). They will live in community at Gaspar Mission House.
Jade Bowman, a former Precious Blood Volunteer, taking the vitals of a patient at KC CARE Clinic
The Chicago volunteers will serve at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR). They will be our first volunteers serving at PBMR since Bonnie Kane served there in 2011. The female volunteers will be living with the Dayton Precious Blood sisters and the male volunteer will live at the Formation House in Hyde Park.
One group of volunteers will begin their Orientation in the first week of August and the second group will participate in Orientation in September. Early in the summer we will be introducing each one of them to the Precious Blood community.
You can learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers at www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org
We join in celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing reflections from Precious Blood Volunteers alumnae. Enjoy!
Written by Bonnie Kane (Chicago, 2011)
It has been about 10 months since I ended my volunteer time in Chicago at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation and not a day goes by that I don’t think about the lessons that I learned while there. My volunteer experience began for me with perfect timing. I had just wrapped up my final year at Rockhurst University. I was craving an escape. At first, that escape was merely to be independent, challenged in new ways and getting out of a city that I grew up in. In hindsight, I was escaping and searching for so much more.
Bonnie had the opportunity to help out young men studying for their GED at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
Since Chicago I have been through three jobs. I began by working at a hospice care business, helping with new referrals. Only a few short weeks later I got the break of a lifetime when my dream job was offered to me—working for Catholic Charities Kansas City-St. Joseph as a Foster Care Case Worker. The job was a huge challenge, and just as I began to get comfortable, Catholic Charities found out that they were losing the contract for the Foster Care program. I would be out of the job as of January 1, 2013. However, I was offered a job through Catholic Charities at their Turnaround Program, a prison re-entry program for those who are up to six months out of jail, funded by the Department of Labor. As a Case Manager, I work with clients to help them obtain education, jobs, opportunities and stable housing.
To say the least it has been a roller coaster of a year for me. I have learned something through all of these professional changes, but I have my Chicago experience to thank for preparing me and giving me the strength to go through them and come out on the other side.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to go into some kind of Social Service field, e.g., hospitals, mental health, youth, elderly, substance abuse, underprivileged, and education. Chicago taught me to be open and understanding. Talking with teens in their environment opened up my mind to so many obstacles they overcome to become successful. The experience groomed me; it started me off with an open heart, an open ear, and hope for those who have lost all hope. With these lessons and exposure I have been able to feel comfortable and somewhat successful working with children in foster care and ex-cons at the Turnaround Program. I felt prepared to take it all on.
Bonnie with her community-mate, Sr. Donna Liette
Chicago changed my personal as well as my professional life. The experience gave me confidence. In social service fields one needs to be prepared for whatever walks in the door and be able to talk and stand up for oneself and one’s job if need be. Despite being on my own, I wasn’t alone. Immersing myself into my surroundings and reflecting on my life and others’ lives helped me learn about myself. I was able to re-evaluate who I was and where I was going. At the time, I was not heading in the best direction possible. Chicago forced me to meet myself all over again. The biggest lesson that I learned about myself was how strong and independent I had really become. I know now how much I can challenge myself and how much I can take on, thanks to my willingness to expand my comfort zone.
I also learned more about my faith, my spirituality and who God was to me. For some time, my faith had been dwindling. I kept running into situations that challenged me and I didn’t understand why I could never catch a break. So instead of leaning on my faith, I began to lean elsewhere. It was always still there—I attended church on Sundays and still believed—but I didn’t believe in myself and my own personal relationship with God. The first several months in Chicago were a big challenge. I was learning to live on my own, away from anything and everything that I knew. It was not all deep dish pizzas, Cubs games and sunny days. I had a personal struggle for quite a while and that struggle began with my faith. Again I asked myself and God, “What the heck am I doing here? What are you trying to show me and teach me. Once I was able to listen and to be honest, to get over myself, things began to unfold. I have all of the boys and staff at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation to thank. They taught me more about faith than I knew, and they most likely had no idea they were doing so. On my journey to find myself, I found God again as well. I began to accept hardships and learn from them. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this experience and God helping me blaze my own trail.
I cannot thank enough the staff and youth of Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation for the experience that I had. Chicago prepared me and gave me the experience to be successful in an everchanging non-profit profession. I learned so much more about myself and my faith. With a stronger faith, I am always looking for what is next—yet still juggling and reminding myself to live each day as is; too much planning is no fun. I like to live with a little mystery! Like I tell so many clients, just roll through the hardship and slow down during the happiness and excitement.
Bonnie Kane is a graduate of Rockhurst University and served as a Precious Blood Volunteer at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in 2011. To learn more about Precious Blood Volunteers go to www.preciousbloodvolunteers.org.