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Bridgid O'Brien's Fundraiser:

Volunteer Year in Nong Khai Thailand

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Bridgid O'Brien


I’ve spent the last year working as a long-term volunteer with Good Shepherd Volunteers in Baltimore. Good Shepherd Volunteers (GSV) gives full-time volunteers the opportunity to work in social service ministries helping women, adolescents, and children affected by poverty, violence, and neglect. GSV’s belief is that developing relationships with the marginalized of our world empowers volunteers to grow in knowledge and faith and inspires them to seek justice for all.

This year I have had the amazing opportunity to work in an autism/ special education program at a residential treatment center called Good Shepherd Services for adolescents between the ages of 13 and 21 who are suffering from severe emotional, behavioral, and psychiatric disorders. GSV’s slogan is “Just Love” and while my title has taken many shapes this year – from teacher’s assistant to hands-on activities coordinator to social studies and creative arts teacher – my job description has never changed: to love the students with my whole heart. Good Shepherd Services is a last resort placement for many of the individuals living here and most have been referred by either the Department of Juvenile Services, Department of Social Services, or by families who do not know what to do with their child. The children I work with are categorized as the worst of the worst of Maryland and DC but to me they are just my students - students who need to know that they are loved and appreciated, students who show me every day just how compassionate and loving they are, students who make my heart smile so big.

In the past nine months, I can see how much GSV has taught me through it’s four tenants of social justice, spirituality, simple living, and community. This year of service has opened my eyes and heart even wider to the world’s most vulnerable populations. However, I feel like I have so much more to learn about myself - my strengths, my weaknesses, my passions – as well as the world. This year, GSV has been a platform for me to become more comfortable with the person I am and to not only accept, but also embrace that. My past experiences have taught me that I am only fully able to grow and learn when I am pushed outside of my comfort zone.

Therefore, upon completing my year of service in Baltimore, I will be heading internationally for a second year with GSV to Nongkhai, Thailand beginning in August 2014. There, I will be working with an organization that provides health services for persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. I am incredibly humbled, excited, and nervous about the year to come.

However, I cannot do this alone.

It is my goal to raise $4,000 for the Good Shepherd Volunteers program. Every year, GSV serves hundreds of women, children, and adolescents in situations of poverty and neglect. Please know that all monetary donations to GSV go directly toward my experience of serving people in need, not administrative or overhead costs and all gifts are tax deductible.

I can not do it without kind hearts like you!!



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