During my undergraduate career at Loyola University Maryland, I became involved in a number of social justice organizations and projects. I knew that this was not just a passing interest, but a passion that needed time and space to nurture and grow. Good Shepherd Volunteers was just the program for me. After reading the mission, researching the placement sites and interviewing with the staff, I knew I was being called to live a year of zealous commitment with GSV.
I was placed at the Chelsea Foyer as an Independent Living Counselor for young adults who aged out foster care or were at risk of being homeless. I found myself deeply involved with helping residents develop personal skills to prosper on their own journey. At the end of the day, I felt comforted knowing that I was able to come back to my community and discuss the challenges we face as volunteers. The year is such a unique experience where you live an alternative form of life, which makes community a necessity in order to feel understood.
My year after GSV I started the master’s program for Counseling in Mental Health and Wellness at New York University (NYU) in pursuit of becoming a licensed mental health counselor.
Through my studies at NYU and my experience with GSV, I have never been more confident in my decision to be involved with this line of work. By exploring and living out the four tenets of GSV, I learned to appreciate everyone for their individual strengths. For this reason, I have become more socially conscious of my environment and the impact that I make upon it.
Too often, people are unaware of their strengths and are unable to reach their full potential. It is important that an individual’s strengths and gifts are discovered and productively utilized in order to live a fruitful life. GSV validated my desire to pursue a professional career in counseling, challenged me to be more socially conscious and encouraged me to help others in their pursuit of discovering their passions.