Gibbons students put their faith into action in service to others throughout the school year. To appreciate their experience, educators lived out the call to serve during the annual Gibbons Educator Day of Service at the same nonprofit organizations where our students perform their community outreach.
This year’s day of service, the fifth annual, took place on August 26, a day off from school for students. Educators, however, traveled in groups to one of nine different communities to spend the morning helping the most vulnerable among us.
The theme of the day was the power of encounter, Gary Meyerl ’82, Director of Outreach Ministry, said. “Service is as much about the encounter – the people we serve and those with whom we serve – as it is the work we do,” he explained.
Educators experienced encounters throughout the day of service. They served lunch to the hungry at the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, prepared bags of food for families in need at Catholic Parish Outreach, the largest food pantry in the Triangle, and sorted and folded clothes for Note in the Pocket, which offers to clothe impoverished and homeless children in Wake County. They also served as teaching assistants at Beginning & Beyond Child Development Center or the Creative Learning Child Development Center, which assist low-income families or engaged with senior citizens and adults with disabilities at Total Life Centers in Raleigh, Cary, or Garner.
“Service is as much about the encounter – the people we are serving and those with whom we service – as it is the work we do,” Gary Meyerl ’82, Director of Outreach Ministry, said.
“My main encounter,” said Spanish educator Miguel Casas, who visited Total Life Center in Raleigh, “was with my colleagues, seeing them jump into it without reservations and interacting with the senior citizens in a humorous, caring way.
“And that precisely made me realize,” he added, “what an inspiring experience this can be for students, particularly for the ones who go there feeling a little shy, a little reticent, but they might see their classmates showing them what to do.”
Athletic trainer Anthoni Wedderburn, who served at Note in the Pocket, added: “Today helped me better appreciate what our students experience by seeing how actively involved they will be during the service activity.”
The annual day of service also dovetailed with the “kick-off weekend” for Gibbons Retreats. Tim Yelenic, Director of Retreats, said eight educators and 16 senior leaders, led over 50 students in two retreats at the newly-opened Cardinal Gibbons Short Journey Retreat Center in Smithfield.
“The retreats offered educators the opportunity to serve our students and to share in their faith journey at Short Journey, our home away from home,” said Yelenic.
Educators ended the day by celebrating Mass together in the Queen of All Saints Chapel with Fr. Marlon Mendieta.
“The day of service,” Meyerl said, “was an opportunity for us to have an encounter with someone who had the potential to alter our perspective, change our outlook, or give us a chance to hit the reset button by merely loving our neighbor in service with others in our Gibbons community.”