The following was written by AHA Senior Jillian Christie '15 as a culminating project to her Campus Ministry team Service Learning course.
There are many things that I love in my life. I love my family, I love my puppy, I love my soft Vera Bradley blanket that I can’t sleep without. I love breakfast foods and I love cooking. I find such joy in baking and cooking because I know that with every pinch of salt and with every teaspoon of baking soda, I can put a little love in there with it. Upon joining the Campus Ministry Team this year, I was thinking ahead to what service agency I wanted to be a part of. I knew that I wanted something that I could find passion in, something that I looked forward to every time I went. Something that I could find a new love for. Something that maybe even involved cooking. And that something was Dorothy Day.
Six months ago, if you had asked me if I would still go to service if it was not required, I would have honestly said no. Ask me that today, and I can truthfully say that I would. I would continue to get up at 6:00 am on a Saturday to cook breakfast for some of the most incredible and inspirational people you will ever meet. I make over 600 pancakes for people who are experiencing homelessness. I am so grateful that the Campus Ministry Team gave me the opportunity to be able to meet and help such amazing and beautiful people. The Academy of Holy Angels is unlike any other school. They give us such incredible opportunities to grow and expand on our faith journey, and I can promise you that no other school supports and helps their students to do God’s work like Holy Angels does.
It is after school on a Friday afternoon, and the Dorothy Day crew and I are at the nearest Cub Foods. We are buying food for tomorrow morning’s breakfast at the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul. We shop for 200 people, buying an extreme amount of pancake mix, sausage patties, hash browns, and juice. The next morning I am up at 6:00 am, I grab my hat (a Dorothy Day requirement) and I am out the door. Upon arriving at Dorothy Day, the team and I gather all of the food and bring it in to the massive kitchen. We get the ovens and grills going, and we begin to prepare a glorious Saturday morning breakfast. I am always on pancake duty, making over 600 pancakes. We make sure the food is extra delicious for the people coming in to eat it. At 9:00 am, over 200 people fill the doors of the Dorothy Day center as we hand out trays of our freshly made food.
Although I try to be a good kid, I take a lot of things for granted. I never realized how lucky I was and how good I had it until I began to spend my time at Dorothy Day. My perspective has changed dramatically since my time in CMT has started. I have come to the realization that my life is so good and so worthwhile, and it pains me to know that not everyone has it like I do. I attend an amazing private school, I have a loving family who cares for me, I have a beautiful home and I am given every opportunity imaginable. But when I look into the eyes of the wonderful humans that come through my line at Dorothy Day, I know that my life needs to be more meaningful and that I need to do so much for others. I have the ability to give back. I am so mentally, physically, and emotionally able to help others. Dorothy Day has shown me that I can make a difference in somebody’s life.
AHA's mission states, “Our mission is to educate and nurture a diverse student population so that each student, as a whole person, may achieve full potential to excel intellectually, to live spiritually, to lead responsibly, to act justly, and to serve selflessly.” I truly believe that in my time at Holy Angels and as a volunteer at Dorothy Day, I have learned a lot about myself, I have grown in my faith, I have gained leadership skills, and I have begun to serve more selflessly.