The (Un)Impossible Dream
May 15, 2017
BENEFITING: Good Shepherd Services
ORGANIZER: Good Shepherd Services
Dearest family and friends, I am ecstatic to announce that I will be running the New York City Marathon on November 5th, 2017! This is a rather difficult feat, not only in training my feet to run 26.2 miles (insert bad-pun-groan here), but to even be granted the gift of running this renowned race is such a rare opportunity! I am therefore extremely fortunate to run for Good Shepherd Services, a non-profit organization that is greatly aligned with the service I have done for the past two years as a Good Shepherd Volunteer with Collier Youth Services. However, part of my commitment to run for GSS's team is to raise a total of $2,500 by mid-October. For this reason I am asking for any support you can provide to make my life-long dream a reality, all the while supporting an incredible cause!
Here is the website for Good Shepehrd Services, where you may learn about their mission, their values, and all the wonderful work they have done, continue to do, and desire to do in the near future! (As a side-note, Good Shepherd Services is a secular institution, that although has a Catholic history being rooted in the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, it is not partnered with the Catholic Church).
Now, I would like to share with you how being a Good Shepherd Volunteer for two consecutive years has enhanced my life. During the summer of 2015, I made the unconventional decision to relocate from my rent-controlled apartment in New York City, working a full-time waitressing job at a well-known Italian restaurant, to a small town called Wickatunk, New Jersey. I moved in with essentially three strangers, committing to live simply with them while we served a full year together as Good Shepherd Volunteers. We worked at an alternative high school for adolescents who have specialized therapeutic needs. At first, this was a lot to take in, but I found where I was most helpful at Collier High School, while continuing to grow into the tenets of my volunteer program. The first year I was heavily involved with the theatre department, helping the students prepare and practice for their character's roles in both the drama and the musical, as well as helping backstage with performances. I was also very much invested in the music department, assisting with choir, performing alongside students during events, and chaperoning at festivals and music shows. I taught Health to freshman girls, as well as facilitated clubs and therapeutic groups. The year left me so grateful and energized that I wanted to serve another year at the high school, hoping to solidify my aspirations of either being a social worker or a teacher. The second year came with unforeseen challenges that made it difficult to navigate, marking it as my hardest year to date. Regardless, I continued working some past duties, as well as taking on some newer, growth-inducing roles , such as: teaching American Literature to sophomores, formulating the morning announcements, assisting in equine therapy, tutoring, and substitute teaching in both the high school and the middle school.
This year helped me listen to the resounding clarity in my heart, in that social work is the career path for me. I'm so fortunate to be starting graduate school at Rutgers University in the fall, beginning my expedition in obtaining my masters in social work! Now, it's truly amazing that during all of this, I have found, and continue to find running to be one of the most therapeutic and rewarding activities to carry forth my self-care. It's phenomenal that my journey with my career and my journey with running are coinciding, and that I get to share that journey with people I cherish, respect, and love. I realize attending grad school full time, along with a 15-hour-per-week internship, working, and training for this marathon will be challenging to balance, but I am hopeful and positive in this new chapter of my life!
After being a volunteer for two years I understand that money can be tight, but truly, any financial and/or emotional support you can provide is extremely appreciated! If you are able to donate you are not only helping me fulfill a lifelong dream, but your contributions will assist Good Shepherd Services in supplying for over 30,000 youth and familes in need!
Thank you so much for your time and your belief in me.