Good Deeds Can Lead to Good Jobs

Nicole Battista, Reporter

Service, one of the four charisms of the Sisters of Mercy, is most likely ingrained in every student’s mind, but its rewards are more than personal or even spiritual – student volunteerism can lead to employment.

Graduate Aimee DiLucido, an English literature major with a minor in philosophy, is a Denver, Colorado Math Fellow/AmeriCorps State Member with Denver Public Schools/Blue Print Schools Network.

DeLucido teaches math intervention courses at Martin Luther King Jr. Early College, a combined middle school and high school, to groups of three to five students, with the goal of eliminating math achievement gaps.

DiLucido began her volunteer experience through a service learning class during her junior year by helping at Ruth’s Place, a women’s homeless shelter. From there, she became the Spirituality on Tap leader, Praise and Worship leader, and served with Habitat for Humanity in Washington during an alternative spring break trip through Campus Ministry.

“The particular group that I served with in Spokane, Washington with Habitat for Humanity really embodied to me what it meant to come together for a common purpose and serve. We took care of each other, got really close, despite having to sleep on the floor together every night and share two showers amongst the 25 of us,” DiLucido said.

The Habitat trip inspired DiLucido to serve with the National Civilian Community Corps for a year upon graduation, working with Corps members who were seeking alternative routes to obtain their General Education Development (GED).

“Through the mountains of struggles they had to go through to take advantage of their second, third, and even fourth attempt at receiving a GED diploma,” DiLucido said, “I was inspired to join Denver Math Fellows as my way of contributing to and learning from a preventative program for youth.”

DiLucido is just one example of someone who found her career through volunteering.

Carolyn Yencharis Corcoran, Assistant Director of Career Development, also landed her first job through volunteer work. She was volunteering at the Adult Literacy Training and Assistance Program as a teaching assistant to an English as a Second Language teacher for a variety of students from China, Russia, Vietnam and Israel.

Corcoran put that volunteer experience at the top of her resume, and it got her a job. She was hired as an English as a Second Language instructor in Japan.

Volunteer work also may allow students to practice the skills necessary for their careers. Chris Somers, Director of Campus Ministry, said physical therapy students have taught nursing classes in Guyana. Some transferable skills learned while volunteering are problem solving skills, teamwork, and making do with less.

Employers are looking for well rounded individuals, Somers said. “They are not just looking for Johnny who got a 3.9 GPA and that is all he ever did.”

Volunteer work gives students the opportunity to network, which is the number one way to find job or internship opportunities, according to Corcoran.

Corcoran said volunteering also provides students with good refer- ences, which will help demonstrate the student’s qualities and work ethic and increase his or her appeal to prospective employers. Corcoran and Somers agree that most businesses do participate in community service, and Somers said serving others is a lifelong activity.

“Giving back to the community and wanting to help your fellow man, the giving of your time when you’re not being paid. That says a lot to a potential employer,” Corcoran said.

Working without pay shows that an individual is a hard worker with or without an incentive.

Somers said getting involved in Campus Ministry is easy. Students may pick and choose their hours and the type of service work that interests them.

“You don’t have to say, ‘I’m going to go every week to the soup kitchen.’ You could just go one time and that’s it, or once a month,” Somers said.

DiLucido recommends volunteering to anyone who likes to be around others and likes having fun. She said it is not necessary to have a history of service work.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Anyone can be great because anyone can serve.’ I truly believe this. Service is for everyone,” DiLucido said.

DiLucido came to MU as a student athlete and an aspiring musical theater performer. She did not think she had time to get involved. A small step towards service put her where she is today.

Through service, DiLucido learned about herself, others and the community.

“These experiences have prepared me to walk into any job with enough self awareness to know when to step up and lead, when to be led, when to ask for help, and when to not to take things personally,” DiLucido said.

Somers said that she thinks forming a relationship with a child or an elderly person in the course of service builds the self-esteem.

There are many opportunities for students who are considering service upon graduation.

Students have gone to the Mercy Volunteer Corps, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, AmeriCorps, and sites in California and Colorado. Somers said that doing service for a year gives the individual experience and exposure, and is a great idea if they cannot find immediate employment.

“Expand your college experience with service,” Somers said.

For more information, visit Chris Somers in the Campus Ministry office located in Banks Student Life Center.

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