Answering God’s Call to Action

The following reflection was written by Caitlyn, a Summer Service Learning Intern.

flat FrancisOver the summer, many college students like me find themselves as hectically busy as they were during the school year. Whether working a summer job (sometimes two), beginning an internship, taking an extra course, or taking part in all three opportunities, they always try to find time to relax and time for family and friends. One thing they don’t always think about is the considerable amount of time they have left in their schedule.

As a full-time student I work two jobs, have an internship, and hold leadership positions in many clubs and groups. Even though I keep busy, I have many hours left in my day that aren’t being put to good use. If there’s one concept I’ve learned to understand, it’s “time is of the essence.” Sometimes, we can forget how precious time is.

For the young adult volunteers with the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, we’ve learned just how precious a few hours of our day can be for another human being. The Sisters’ Summer Service Learning [SSL] Program has been a wonderful opportunity.

DSC00345For the first few weeks, many of the volunteers spent time teaching a Multimedia workshop. One volunteer teacher, Marissa, is a University Scholar in the Youngstown State University Honors College. Marissa’s time spent at The Ursuline Center was filled with what she called, “A spirit of service and Christian love that imbued every action I took there.”

My experience has been the same. When I first stepped into Beatitude House, I was unsure how to communicate with the women from different Hispanic backgrounds. I’d never taught a class, much less a secondary language course. Once I began teaching, though, I was awed at the focus and SSL 2015 Caitlyn at Potter'sdetermination these women had to learn an incredibly difficult language. I felt humbled that God led me down a path not only beneficial to these mothers but also to me. I’ve learned much about their cultures, lifestyles and languages.

Even more incredible to observe was the children’s class down the hall. The young adult volunteers, Kristen, Jenne, Kelly, Courtney, Kayleigh, Carly, Lea and Anny, many of whom are education majors, have patience and passion when working with the children.

SSL 2015 Kristen at Potter's

“The initiative and motivation to learn at such a young age is admirable,” comments Lea, a Walsh University student, “and the atmosphere of Beatitude House is such a bright and enjoyable place for the children to learn and stay free-spirited.


Kelly, an early childhood education major, has participated for the past two years and, with Jenne, is a student leader in the SSL program. “I never know what to expect, or exactly what students I will be working with,” she remarks. “When I get there, my faith allows me to make adjustments to whatever needs are present, and I know that God will give me the strength or knowledge I need in order to handle those situations.”

As a witness to the many projects occurring through the SSL Program, I cannot help but feel awed by this life changing experience. I now realize what a few hours in a week can mean to another human being and a community.

This has been such a rewarding opportunity for all of us volunteers, and I can’t help but wonder what my summer would have been like without this enriching, uplifting experience.
Before this experience, I thought, “What could I possible have to give to these people?” However, God’s call to action has shown me that people of all backgrounds have something to offer, even if it’s only a small amount of time, compassion, or care. I know I will be a returning volunteer next year, and I hope that young people in our community realize it is imperative to take the same call to action that I did.

As a young adult, our time and service is more precious than we realize.