From Cathy, mom of Jennifer (alum MissionCorps – 2002-2004, 2007-2012, helped with the founding of The Elizabeth House and founded The Zechariah House)
What worries, concerns, or reservations, if any, did you have with your daughter’s decision about volunteering?
I didn’t really have too many concerns. She had already shown herself to be a reliable adult while away for 4 years of college and then a year as a Jesuit Volunteer. She had been in Phoenix for a year in the Jesuit Volunteer community and had met the women from Maggie’s Place in various activities. She was excited about the possibility of living in a much healthier community than she had been in, and with her inherited love of babies it seemed like the perfect place to hone her social work skills. I enjoyed visiting Maggie’s Place and thought it was a good fit for her.
How did your feelings change over the course of your daughter’s year of service?
My feelings were validated the longer she stayed at Maggie’s Place. She made good friends, learned a lot of different skills, and was becoming more confident about handling a variety of tasks.
What kind of impact do you think your daughter’s year(s) of service had on her?
Every year she gained more skills and confidence. She took on roles with more responsibility and I was amazed at the wonderful job she did opening the home in Ohio. It spurred her to earn her Masters in Non-Profit administration. She learned so much about coordinating the needs of so many different people from a wide variety of backgrounds. She developed amazing leadership skills and had to make really difficult decisions about the mothers in the house. She learned to work with a variety of social service agencies, churches, volunteers, clients, and co-workers. As a volunteer she had to step outside of her comfort level and handle tasks far above her “pay grade” because the work needed to be done and she was the one chosen.
Why would you recommend others to consider a year of service at Maggie’s Place?
I would strongly recommend a year or more of service because it helps the volunteers grow in many ways, far more than they would in any regular job. Work needs to be done and the volunteers have to do it whether they know how to or not. It is a leap of faith in many ways but helps to build strengths in so many areas. It is a lot of hard work but the volunteers find he strength within themselves and others to get it done. They live daily with others who have had such different life experiences. It helps them see the strengths in themselves and others. It helps them appreciate their own upbringing and the advantages they have had over the clients. It helps them see the growth that the mothers have made in wanting to provide for their children.
It is truly a wonderful growth opportunity for the volunteers and gives them a plethora of skills they couldn’t amass in any other job. It was a life changing experience for my daughter and has provided her with friends for life.
From Judy, mom of Sarah (alum MissionCorps, Maggie’s Thrift and Fiat Staff)
Since she had already been out of the house for a few years and had various job experiences under her belt, I was not at all anxious about her decision to try her hand at Maggie’s Place. It actually made me proud of her in that she decided to put aside one year of her future to help women who were, so to speak in a similar situation that I was as a single expectant parent before her birth.
I was blessed to have a good job and support system at the time and did not have any other issues to deal with as these young women do. This actually improved our relationship as she became more aware of the struggles of single parenting and the sacrifices that needed to be made in our little family, the first seven years of her life.
Any worries we might have had were put to rest when we paid her a visit and spent a week with her and helped out with the community’s needs. She then went on to stay another year and then devised the business plan to open up the thrift shop and manage it for another two years or so. I learned more about her through her service.
Also she met her husband while at Maggie’s Place so I guess you would say I have very little to comment negatively on. I think in order to be a part of this volunteer Corps one would need to have a level of maturity to deal with everything that comes up, but I would highly recommend this program to any pro-life young woman who is ready to serve. Sarah improved in her ability to communicate with compassion and to see both sides of the story. She gave her all yet she received back so much more than she gave and I always will be grateful for her experience at Maggie’s Place.