The Catholic Church’s social justice teachings encourage us to treat everyone fairly, just as we wish to be treated and to value human dignity and the common good.
At first, I did not really know what it truly meant to have social awareness until I researched it. I learned that it is the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
This past school year I got the opportunity to serve at Easter Seals Preschool as part of my theology class. I had to learn that not everyone needed the same type of help and that every child was completely different and each had their own strengths and needs. I was very nervous at first but after going back every week I began to love it and I always looked forward to going. I began to build wonderful relationships with the children and miss them greatly.
During my second semester, I was assigned to CARTI for my service site. CARTI is a cancer center where people can go to get blood work and cancer treatments as well as other services. Going from Easter Seals to CARTI was a huge adjustment but I grew to love it and enjoyed every moment. Being able to go serve two completely different service sites opened my eyes to what is happening around me within different populations that I would have otherwise never experienced. Being able to have God in my life helped me with these two service sites, as I was scared and did not know what I was doing. I was able to see how the struggles the patients at CARTI and the children at Easter Seals were going through are affecting them each personally.
Going to CARTI was a blessing to me. When I was younger my grandfather had cancer and he battled it for several years and went to CARTI to get treatments. Being able to serve at CARTI has been a great opportunity to give back to the people who put so much time and effort into trying to help my grandfather.
Helping and serving others has always been something I enjoy and have been passionate about. I always try to bring light to those around me and a smile to others who may be down. Through serving others I have been able to be more confident in working in a variety of settings and with a variety of people. Rather it be a big or small impact, every little thing matters and I truly believe that God has helped me realize this. This past school year I felt my faith get stronger and I am very grateful for that as I am someone who has struggled in her faith her whole life. Being able to serve others has shown me a way that we can bring God into our daily lives and share him with others around us.
Sarah Beth Thomas is a senior at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock. St. Anne Church in North Little Rock is her home parish.
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