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Service-Learning Newsletter

May 13, 2019

Dear Friends,

When my grandmother passed away some years ago, all of us grandchildren were invited to choose an item from her home that we would like as a personal keepsake. It was heartwarming to see what my siblings and cousins chose – the green analog clock from her kitchen; the painting of a choppy sea that hung in her living room; one of the stackable plastic mugs from her cupboard; and so on. But, despite the meaning that everything in the house held for me, nothing stood out as the item I was meant to keep. And then, a few days later, while in the middle of a completely different task, I came across a thick stack of business cards she had collected over the years from people such as the principal of the parish school, a contact at the Polish deli, one of her bankers, a local plumber, etc. In an instant, I knew this was the keepsake I wanted: each card represented a relationship – someone she knew and interacted with in some way. It was like holding the story of her life in my hands.

A stack of cards on a bookshelfAs I sat down to write this introduction, I started to recall all that has happened over these past three years since the founding of Benedictine’s Center for Service-Learning. I found myself looking around my office and remembering the stories that go along with each book, notepad, or random trinket. And then my eyes fell upon a large stack of business cards sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be organized into some usable fashion. It immediately reminded me of the business cards I keep in memory of my grandmother, and I realized that these cards, too, represent a web of relationships that tell the story of the Center for Service-Learning. The pile of cards includes mentors in the service-learning field; guest speakers we’ve had on campus; colleagues I’ve met at conferences; and community partners… lots and lots and LOTS of community partners. Each card calls to mind a fascinating conversation, a sound word of advice, a productive meeting or, perhaps most importantly, a shared dream for our community! And these cards don’t even touch the countless relationships and interactions with Benedictine College faculty, staff, and students, each one of which has influenced the growth of the Center!

In short, as I consider these years as Coordinator of Service-Learning, I am impressed by the large number and wide range of people who have helped form our service-learning program into what it is today. We certainly have room for development and improvement but, by the looks of these business cards, it seems we are on the right track!

Have a wonderful and safe summer. We look forward to picking up with our newsletters in the fall!

Thank you,

Meredith Stoops

Coordinator of Service-Learning