Mercy Mondays: Announcing the Vision of Mercy Fellows for summer 2022
The Center for Community Engagement and Service is excited to announce the Vision of Mercy Fellows for the summer of 2022. The Vision of Mercy Fellowship offers a small number of undergraduate students a summer opportunity to participate in a high-impact, community-based experience rooted in the mercy mission of Salve Regina. Students apply, and selected students work with organizations committed to the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: immigration, earth, racism, nonviolence and women.
During the summer, the Vision of Mercy Fellowship provides grant funding to the fellows — who then must serve for a least five weeks for 30 hours per week with a nonprofit organization locally, domestically or abroad. The Vision of Mercy Fellowship is intended as an opportunity for students who are discerning how best to dedicate their lives professionally or vocationally to the work of mercy.
Summer 2022 Vision of Mercy Fellows
Student: Lia-Sophie Keller ’24, major in administration of justice with a minor in psychology
Volunteer Location: Conexion Latina Newport
Keller’s vision of mercy and justice in the world is that everyone deserves to feel safe, supported, have affordable educational opportunities and for all to have the resources to live a healthy and happy life. This understanding of vision of mercy leads her major in administration of justice with a minor in psychology. With this future career, she wants to keep community safe, build a trusting relationship between federal law enforcement and the community, help build resources for at-risk youth and help to end the cycle of abuse. In addition, she is also interning at Homeland Security Investigations in Providence, which focuses on child exploitation, human trafficking and more.
During Keller’s summer fellowship, she will be working with Conexion Latina Newport to assist with researching resources for the community, learning Salesforce databases and anything else the organization may need help with. Within this project, Keller will help Spanish speaking individuals in the Newport community have access to opportunities and resources. Keller will also be working on various social media projects depending on whether or not a Spanish speaking fellow will be hired for the summer. In addition, Keller plans to help create awareness at Salve Regina for the daily struggles of someone living in the U.S. with English as a second language.
Student: Elizabeth Baza ’24, double major in cultural and historic preservation and Italian studies
Volunteer Location: Newport Community School
Growing up in a diverse community, Salve Regina’s mercy mission has always stood out to Elizabeth Baza. Baza, who grew up with a dad who was, born and raised in Damascus, Syria, with a family focused on faith, togetherness and community — even during the ongoing war. Her father’s continuous perseverance to promote strength, community, and hope into the world, even outside of Syria, was a large part of her upbringing and has always left her seeking to do more.
During Baza’s fellowship, she will be working with the Newport Community School at Thompson Middle School to establish their hall monitor program. Within this project, she will create a training plan, instructions for prospective volunteers to become eligible to be a hall monitor, an incentive system for the students at Thompson that exemplify the critical concern of nonviolence, and work on creating presentations for varying academic departments at Salve explaining why this program is important. In addition, this process will be shared via social media so that the public is able to learn more about the program and how it will impact the Newport and Middletown communities here on Aquidneck Island.
Student: Wendy Gomez ’23, major in special & elementary education
Volunteer Location: Generation Teach
Gomez is a current first-generation elementary education major with a minor in special education interested in educational equity. Coming from a Latina background, she has been gifted with opportunities her parents did not get. The realization of how much there is to do started back beginning the first year in high school, and her involvement with community service has introduced and educated her on job opportunities, social awareness, and a chance to help out those in need.
When Wendy Gomez discovered Generation Teach, what piqued her interest was the vision statement: “The vision of Generation Teach is to end racial injustice and inequity in education.” As an education major, diversity in the classroom is fundamental. Generation Teach also strives to provide professional opportunities to those of color. She found GT’s core values aligned with one of Salve’s critical concerns of racism and wants to help others feel a sense of belonging.
Katarzyna Osiecka Kaszuba ’23, major in marketing degree with a minor in business administration
Volunteer Location: Bike Newport
Kaszuba believes a merciful and just community is one that strives to help itself and those in the community — especially those in need. Kaszuba believes a great example of this is nonprofits that focus on the communities they are in, she believes that that nonprofits truly make big impacts in people’s lives that people carry with them for their entire lives.
With Kaszuba’s fellowship at Bike Newport, she plans to help the organization accomplish their events that revolve around the earth — such as their full moon rides in the summer. In addition, she will be helping with the kids bike camps, which help children learn how to ride a bike, take care of them and stay safe while riding. Along with children, Kaszuba, hopes that her fellowship will allow her to work in collaboration with the Newport Festivals, encouraging people of all ages to bike instead of driving to the festivals. At Bike Newport, Kaszuba will continue acting on and expanding their mission as a bike advocacy organization.
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.