The Virtues of VSC West

By Gino Altamura

‘13 – ‘14 alum, is now a VSC West Board Member.

“… Although we did different programs, my wife is right – my volunteer year prepared me so well for the rest of my life. Shared responsibilities, communal dinners, a sort of simplicity to each day. Best of all there’s a sharing when we arrive home – a sharing of the heart, so we can process and find strength for the work we’re called to do. …”

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eva Smythe
Embracing the Discomfort

By: Lizbeth Espinoza

Lizbeth is currently a  Student Support at De Marillac Academy.

“…Discerning a year of service with VSC has been the catalyst for becoming freed of settling for the comfortable. Since the beginning, I was placed to live with individuals from around the country, in a city over four hundred miles away from home and set to work in a unique school environment I had never thought existed. Everyday I am faced with the choice to either do the bare minimum or embrace the possibilities of discomfort and release control to be able to be and produce the best work for my students, my service site and my community. …”

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eva Smythe
My Education

By: Jessica Ramirez

Jessica was Student Support at De Marillac Academy 2016-2017

“…If you had told me a year ago, that I was going to be working as a teacher at a Catholic school in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district I would have called you a liar and laughed. What did I know about education? What could I do and be to kids who are living in a neighborhood that, according to the SF Gate, has the highest concentration of drug crimes and prostitution. Last spring a myriad of questions flew through my mind at the thought of being in San Francisco. What would I, a girl from a rural small town in Nevada, going to have to say to kids from the inner city? 

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eva Smythe
Love and Compassion

By: Nicole Bejany

Nicole was the Wellness Coordinator at the Epiphany Center in 2015-2016

“…As the wellness counselor, I cook healthy meals with the women. Each time I prepare a meal with a client, she expresses concern over pleasing the rest of her community. Recently, I had a beautiful conversation while making dinner. This client had been having a bad day. When I asked her how she was, she explained to me she was just starting to accept the new version of herself. …”
Want to read the full reflection? 

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eva Smythe
Where Do You See God?

By Jose Lopez

 Jose was a Donations Coordinator at The Gubbio Project 2014-2015

“…One of my housemates always challenges us to find God in what we are doing; to find God in the service we do.  She always tells me that this is what her Vincentian faith is rooted in; that if we don’t think about this then we are missing a major component of our service.  Coming from a Vincentian school myself one of the things I was taught early on at DePaul University was “service without reflection is just work”.  I am blessed to be able to say that this year at VSC West has been filled with God.  Here is where I see God in what I am doing this year: …”

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eva Smythe
Being Blessed By The Unexpected

By Kansas Simmons

Kansas was a Caseworker at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco Riley Center 2013-2014

“…When initially starting my work as a case manager I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. What if they didn’t take me seriously? After all, I am recent college graduate, 23 years old, and I am assigned to somehow help these strong and admirable women become more self-sufficient. It seemed like a daunting and arduous task. However, my very first client changed all of that for me. …”

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eva Smythe