Holy Family Institute, a Catholic, faith-based nonprofit that provides educational and social services to children and families in western Pennsylvania, is launching a 12-month volunteer program designed for college graduates seeking spiritual growth and professional development. Holy Family Service Corps kicks off in August with inaugural volunteers Liz Fairchild, 27, of Fairfax, Minn., and Mathew Jury, 23, of Conneaut, Ohio.

Volunteers will live in a community on Holy Family’s Emsworth campus and spend the majority of their time working directly with teens at Holy Family Academy, a career-focused Catholic high school, and with children and seniors at the Bellevue-based The Community at Holy Family Manor, which encompasses a childcare center, a homeowner assistance program and a personal care home.

They’ll gain hands-on experience in a variety of social services, including early learning, youth mentoring, housing counseling, family support and senior services. Each week they’ll also advance their nonprofit management skills by assisting Holy Family Institute’s staff members with administrative projects. Throughout their year of service, volunteers will engage in spiritual retreats, hear from guest speakers and participate in professional development workshops.

“As we see the numbers in our religious ministries declining, it’s more important than ever to help young people find their calling and discover the enormous impact they can make through the lay ministries,” said Sr. Michele Vincent Fisher, CSFN, the service corps spokesperson. “Through this experience, we want to empower our young people to grow in their profession, their spirituality and their sense of purpose, and we know their contributions will, in turn, make an incredible difference for many people in the communities we serve.”

A ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (CSFN), which also oversees Holy Family Institute, Holy Family Academy and The Community at Holy Family Manor, the program is designed to provide volunteers with a rich sense of service, community, faith and professional development. Following Service Corps’ inaugural year, Holy Family Institute plans to continue growing the program with as many as 10 volunteers accepted annually.

In addition to housing, transportation and insurance, volunteers receive a monthly stipend as well as the opportunity to earn an education grant at the conclusion of their service. Holy Family will begin accepting applications for its 2018-19 Service Corps class in October. For more information about Holy Family Service Corps, please contact Lynn Guerra, volunteer program director, at 412/766-9020 ext. 1304 or Guerra.lynn@hfi-pgh.org, or visit www.hfi-pgh.org/servicecorps.

About the Inaugural Service Corps Volunteers

Liz FairchildLiz Fairchild, 27, was born in Mora, Minn., and grew up in Fairfax, Minn. She graduated with honors from Minnesota West Community and Technical College with an associate’s degree in child development. She also studied early childhood education at Southwest Minnesota State University. Fairchild previously volunteered with her local 4-H club and Girl Scouts troop and in various elementary school classrooms throughout college. After completing her associate’s degree, she served as a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor at GFW Elementary and worked at a preschool.

 

Mathew JuryMathew Jury, 23, is from Conneaut, Ohio. He studied criminalistics/forensic biology at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Penn., and earned his bachelor of science degree in May 2017. Jury has volunteered at St. Vincent Hospital in Erie, and in the summer of 2015, he served as a peer mentor for the CREATE (formerly Foundations) program at Mercyhurst, working with high school students with autism. At the same time, he was a weekly paid intern at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, where he assisted the laboratory in collecting and analyzing water samples from Presque Isle State Park. Jury graduated magna cum laude and is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society, a recipient of the certificate of excellence from the Ridge School of Intelligence and Applied Sciences, and a founding member of the Mercyhurst Marching Band.

About Holy Family Institute

Holy Family Institute empowers children and families to lead responsible lives and develop healthy and meaningful relationships built on faith, hope and love; this mission drives the organization to help everyone who comes to its door. Founded in 1900 as an orphanage by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Holy Family Institute has evolved into a devoted social services provider for the Pittsburgh region, connecting individuals and families to services and resources that help them meet immediate and long-term needs for a sustainably improved future. The organization’s more than 25 programs include mental health, behavioral health, specialized learning, community-based family support services, substance abuse and addiction counseling, safe child visits, and energy assistance. The Institute serves individuals and families in homes, schools, and nine neighborhood centers in Allegheny, Indiana, Beaver, and Armstrong counties in Pennsylvania.

 

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