To Know a City
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To Know a City

Before moving to Philadelphia to begin my year of service as an AV I tried to imagine what the city would be like. Coming from a home-grown town in Montana, I anticipated a shift in the pace of daily life, the scenery which would surround me, and the types of activities popular in the area....

To Teach a Teacher
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To Teach a Teacher

My service experience this year has taken many unexpected turns because of the pandemic. I had originally planned to focus on after-school care at my service site, a K-8 Catholic school in West Philadelphia, but my primary role is now as the long-term substitute teacher for the first grade class. While I happily accepted this...

Fellowship Over Coffee and Breakfast
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Fellowship Over Coffee and Breakfast

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began my discernment process in joining the Augustinian Volunteers a year ago. At the time, I had been out of college for the last three years and had been searching for a life-giving career. Something that would leave me feeling grateful and appreciative...

What a Wonderful World
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What a Wonderful World

A cool breeze, laughter ringing and live music in the air. When I thought about where I’ve seen God present in my week. I realized I’ve seen Him in many small ways. I also realized that those small ways came to a head this Saturday when my community mates and I went to Harvest Weekend....

True Service as a State of Mind
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True Service as a State of Mind

At the beginning of my time as an AV, my understanding of service within the context of this year was largely tied to the physical space that is my service site. Every morning I’d commute to the school on the other side of the city where I’d perform my unpredictable array of tasks and establish...

Symbols of Service
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Symbols of Service

In my year of experience as an AV, there have been countless people and ideas I have run into to challenge and mold my understanding of what it means to practice service. The most inspirational of which has constantly been my supervisor at my placement at HIAS Pennsylvania, Shaloo. When I first got to know...

Small Town Familiarity In A Big City
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Small Town Familiarity In A Big City

When I first began the process for applying to this program and read the words “intentional community” in the description, I must admit I was nervous. Intentional community seemed so forced, and I started to think I would be walking into an entire year of discussion topics and ice breaker like events planned with two...

Diverse World: One Community
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Diverse World: One Community

A few grains remain in the hourglass as the twilight of my volunteer experience grows to close. As I reflect on the past nine months, I begin to question what I have learned and who have I become. Throughout this experience, I have worked at HIAS PA, a refugee resettlement in Philadelphia, PA. I recall...

Being Heard, Known, and Loved
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Being Heard, Known, and Loved

Community is the charism, or spiritual gift, of the Augustinian Order and a pillar of the Augustinian Volunteers. “What is community?” is often asked as we strive towards achieving a fruitful community of volunteers throughout the service year. Before, I had a surface level understanding. It was a group of people united over a single...

The Inkblot Test
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The Inkblot Test

Within the first couple of weeks of being in the city of Philadelphia, my community members and I stumbled across an old stripped down mural that was once displayed prominently on the side of a building. However, now it resembles something like a black blob. I pointed out the black unidentified figure, stating that it...

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