How did you get here, Michele?

Hi, my name is Michele and I am a part of the inaugural group of women for the St. Joseph Worker Program on the West Coast. One of the most frequent questions asked is “How did you get here, Michele?” I am from Buckeye, Arizona, which is a small town outside of Phoenix. I graduated in May with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the University of Arizona.

My family on graduation day

My family on graduation day

Nearing the end of my college career, many people asked me what I was going to do. I had ever intention in going to grad school to receive my Masters in Education. After working hard on my applications to grad school, I did not get accepted into the grad schools. At the time, I thought I that I would just stay in Tucson and work on getting my teaching credential. Even though I had a plan that I was going to sought out after graduation, but God had a different plan in store for me.

In Mid-February, I was given a brochure that changed my life. My friend, Brian, gave my roommate, Mary, The St. Joseph Worker Program brochure. She thought I would be interested in the program and that I should take a look. I read the brochure, and quickly became interested in the program. Sr. Judy was still around the Newman Center, I went to go talk to her about the program. We talked at the front desk about the program, my interests, and what I wanted to do after graduation. We exchanged contact information and she told me to look at the application for the program. That night, I went home, prayed to God about the day and asked him to show me his will for me after graduation, (which was 3 months away at that point). He had told me that I needed to do something different, something new, and that He would protect and watch over me.

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would apply and consider for a service year. I had always thought that it wasn’t for me and that it was for others. Well, I was wrong. After praying about the program, I came to a realization that I love to serve others. Which should have been easy to realize because all of my life I have had a passion to help others. To make a long story short, I applied for the St. Joseph Worker Program in Los Angeles to work as a teacher’s aid at St. Joseph School. A month after I submitted my application, I received a call from Sr. Judy extending an invitation to accept to be a part of the inaugural group of SJW’s in Los Angeles. I remember that day like the back of my hand. I was so happy and ecstatic! I finally had concrete plans after graduation. Not only did I have concrete plans, the plan was to help make the world a better place, to serve those who have little. I was doing what God had in store in me which was that something different and something new.

It was so meant for me to find the St. Joseph Worker program through my friends. Now, it has been a little over two months since I officially started as a St. Joseph Worker, and I thank God for bringing me here. The past two months have been a complete blessing for me. I often say that this program was created at the right time for the right group of women. I have two beautiful roommates who support and love me. I have a wonderful director who nourishes and loves us. Then there is the community of CSJ’s who are fully supportive of the work we do and send their love and prayers to us. We are so incredibly blessed here in Los Angeles. I can not help but to think back to the day in February that started my journey in becoming a St. Joseph Worker and smile.

IMG_9891

Advertisements

Introducing Me…Kristen Daniels

Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out this blog. We (the St. Joseph Workers) will be starting out with some posts just to introduce ourselves. Hope you enjoy and feel free to leave comments!

Like I said, I’m Kristen Daniels. I am originally an East Coast Girl (shout out to the 203!) and am now finding my way on the West Coast. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a completely different country in California, but I absolutely love it here. I love being so close to the beach and I love the atmosphere out here. Living out here is also fulfilling one of my life dreams. Since I was a wee tot, I’ve been talking about moving to California. I should preface that comment by saying that all I knew about California in the early years came from listening to the Beach Boys… so clearly everyone surfs all day, sits in the sun and then every evening steals their father’s car for a totally nifty drag race. Ok so clearly that’s not all true, we only drag race on the weekends…

Image

(Me and The Fam, 2006. Already knew I was meant to be a Cali Girl!)

While I’m not spending my days surfing life away (okay, truth statement: I have yet to surf. But it is on the bucket list!), I am so blessed to be at an awesome placement site for the St. Joseph Worker’s Program. I am currently serving at St. Joseph’s Center in Venice, where I’ve been placed in the Food Pantry and Senior Services. It is an absolutely fabulous placement. The staff is incredibly supportive and the people I’m serving are great. I’ve encountered amazing, life-changing stories from the first day I’ve been there and it’s just been a great environment to work in. Each day presents a new set of challenges, which I love because it keeps me on my toes.

Image

A question I get a lot is: how did a small town East Coast girl like you find her way out to a year long volunteer program, in the big city, on the West Coast? Kind of complicated answer, but one of the easiest responses is: God. Simple, but it’s really through His guidance and grace that I found this program. There’s no other way I would have come across this program and discovered how perfect it was for me. I found this program at a time in my life where I had no idea what I was supposed to do after college. I didn’t want to go to graduate school just yet, and I didn’t want to join the “work force” just yet. Thankfully I found that there was an option c, one which I wish I knew about much earlier. It would have saved me a lot of grief that last semester!

Ok here’s the fun part of getting to know me: ice breakers! I graduated from¬†Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Yes, it is a real college. Yes it is associated with the Quinnipiac Polls. Yes, we have an awesome hockey team! I majored in psychology with a minor in political science. But I also majored in Theatre for one year and I’m pretty proud of that one year. Not surprisingly, I’m a huge theatre/music nerd. I am a huge hockey fan. I love watching it and going to games. It’s hard being across the country from my teams, so I’m on a trial basis with the LA Kings (their goalie is a CT native- represent!). But we’ll see. I played soccer for a huge part of my life, and still love to play pick-up games if I get the chance. But you can catch me watching almost any sport. One of my goals in life is to travel to all 50 states, and go to each continent. ¬†I’m incredibly close to my family (re: see above picture). My immediate family consists of my sister Karen (and later on we added my brother-in-law Jon), my younger brother Robert (just turned 21, which scares the bejesus out of me) and then my Mum (she’s a saint). I’ve been blessed beyond belief to have an amazing group of friends, which certainly helps when you’re almost 3000 miles and 3 time zones away. I’m also blessed to have a new group of friends here, namely my new roommates. We constantly make each other laugh, which is good for me because that’s my favorite pastime.

Image

This is my family. Aren’t we a cute bunch?

I hope this gives you a brief snapshot of where I’m coming from. I’m looking forward to updating this more, and you’ll soon be hearing from the other two St. Joseph Workers of Los Angeles!