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Reflecting on Upper School Day of Caring

Reflecting on Upper School Day of Caring

Catholic Charities was one of the many volunteer sites visited by our Upper School girls on March 8, our Day of Caring.

20 Mar, 2024

By Cindy Torres, Student Contributor

On Friday, March 8th, the Upper School students got to experience Day of Caring for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Day of Caring has been a part of Saint Agnes Academy’s community outreach for years, but unfortunately due COVID-19, it was postponed until this year. I talked with Mrs. Beth Odom (Director of Dominican Catholic Identity) and the Ministers of Service from each class for a chance to learn more about what went on leading up to the big day.

So, what is Day of Caring? It is a day when the Saint Agnes Upper School students go out and make a positive impact in our local community by doing acts of service. Mrs. Odom describes Day of Caring as “not just about serving; it's about spreading God's love throughout our Memphis Community. Each girl contributing her gifts and talents amplifies our impact, making this day truly special. Together we are making a difference that resonates far beyond ourselves.”

What did this day entail for the students this year? The 9th grade girls remained on the SAA campus doing service projects, such as making blankets for Room at the Inn, sandwiches for St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen, and bird houses for the Wolf River Conservancy. They also helped out in various areas of the ECC and Lower School. The 10th-12th graders had an opportunity to visit many different places (about 7 organizations for each grade) and students got to choose the location where they wanted to volunteer. There were options varying from Room at the Inn, the Humane Society, Birthright, Ave Maria Home, and so much more.

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The Ministers of Service have been planning Day of Caring for the past couple of months and it has been a long process, according to Emma Maye Leonard, the Junior Class Minister of Service. Each minister had her own assignments and worked with Mrs. Odom and Mrs. Giles to contact each organization and location. There were about 20 sites to work with, not including organizing the service opportunities that involved students staying on campus.

It was important to the Ministers of Service for the students to go out in the community in order to show “respect and love” to each organization they helped out. They helped to coordinate all the students and all the details-even making sure they had appropriate clothing for whatever situation they would encounter at their volunteer site. Without the hard work of the Ministers, this day wouldn't have been such a success!

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I had the chance to volunteer at Dorothy Day House with a group of my classmates. I chose that volunteer site because I had experience with the organization when I was younger. I made food for them and hosted a drive for personal hygiene products with my Girl Scout troop. For those who don't know, Dorothy Day House is an organization that provides temporary housing for families who are experiencing housing instability. They have three houses that provide a way for families to stay together while receiving support from countless organizations across Memphis. When I saw that it was one of the options, I immediately signed up for it.

My group volunteered at Joseph’s House, one of the three Dorothy Day houses. We started the day by learning about the organization and its background. By knowing a bit of their history, I felt more connected to the work we were doing. We split into two groups and were tasked with different jobs. My small group moved baby items upstairs to store in the attic and then sorted and folded clothes that were recently donated. We managed to get through 3 out of the 4 rows of boxes filled with clothes, between the 5 of us. We were also tasked with figuring out what age groups they need clothes for-which turned out to be 14–16-year-old boys.

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At the end of our day, we discussed some reflection questions that made it clear to us how our service to others creates positive change in the community. It was a great way to start our spring break, and it gave me insight into the challenges that many families in our community face. It allowed me to become more aware of the privilege of having relatively less stressful daily issues compared to the more troublesome issues of others. I would say that this day was a great success, and I can't wait to participate again next year!

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