Living in the Present
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Living in the Present

“Do you tend to dwell in the past, live in the present, or dream of the future?” This was a question I was asked during one of our Orientation activities back in August, and it is still something I think about to this day. I would describe myself as someone who is constantly thinking about...

Service Guided by a Spirit of Prayer
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Service Guided by a Spirit of Prayer

One of the most notable memories I have experienced this volunteer year is the priestly ordination of a young Augustinian friar. The ordination was performed by a local auxiliary bishop named Bishop Robert Barron. Bishop Barron, famous for his work with Word on Fire Ministries on YouTube, shared a profound insight in his homily that...

The One Who Carries the Team
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The One Who Carries the Team

In college, I found myself leading a lot of different groups. I love planning and organizing events and I did so many things that I almost always had the answers to questions. My senior year of college, I received a paper plate award for “The One Who Keri’s the Team”. I love a good pun...

Little Moments. Big Impact.
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Little Moments. Big Impact.

When I decided to do a year of service and became an Augustinian Volunteer, I will admit I was nervous to be living in a new city and to be working so closely with the homeless population in a small town in California. I had volunteered many times over the years and interned at a...

Rainbows, Butterflies, Compromise
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Rainbows, Butterflies, Compromise

Coming into the AV experience I was most nervous for community living. I studied education in University and I was raised Catholic, so I was not concerned about the service or spirituality aspect. I had lived with four different roommates throughout my University experience. I just wanted to live with people who cared about each...

A Journey Into the Unexpected
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A Journey Into the Unexpected

“Willingness to jump into all sorts of unexpected situations.” Though perhaps included as a catch-all in most job descriptions, as I look back at the description for my AV position at HELP of Ojai, it strikes me that this line captures an important theme – the unexpected – that has underscored my entire experience as...

Middle School Mayhem
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Middle School Mayhem

Never in my life would I have ever imagined that one day I would be dressed in an Eeyore costume with a fluorescent orange vest and holding a hand-held stop sign at a K-8 school in California. Yet, that is exactly where I found myself on Halloween morning. Since it was a Wednesday morning it...

Life as a 22-Year-Old Soccer Mom  
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Life as a 22-Year-Old Soccer Mom  

Four years of college, a degree later, and I somehow find myself back in the bustling halls of high school. It’s a Friday night and I am driving an eight passenger white van down the 101 with fifteen-year-olds screaming in the back. This is the kind of moment I dreaded when I thought of a...

His Grace in Tragedy
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His Grace in Tragedy

On the night of Monday, December 4, 2017, I went out to get a coffee with my program director, Joanna, who was in Ventura for a site visit. When we arrived back to the house she noticed ash falling from the sky. I didn’t think anything of it. Joanna did some research and told my...

HELPing Jesus, Day by Day
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HELPing Jesus, Day by Day

“People would ask why I let all these homeless people sleep in the church, not knowing if they would try to steal from me or the parish. And I would always respond: how could I turn away Jesus coming to my door and asking for a place to sleep or something to eat?” I heard...

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