Today is day five in Rochester, New York, with only one day left on this amazing journey. I feel as if I have grown both spiritually and mentally and maybe even my tummy from all the wonderful food I’ve experienced this week. Before leaving my home in Browning, Montana, I doubted myself and briefly wished I hadn’t signed up for the trip especially since I am the only freshman and knew only one person prior to this voyage. Anyhow, this week has been an eye-opening experience from working with children with fragile, medical needs to sorting canned food for families in need to the reflection prayers in the evening and making new friendships with upper class men.
With the help of my peers and the sisters of St. Joseph, I was able to delve myself into the volunteering process. One of the most memorable moments was when I was in the toddler room at the DayStar daycare. I could truly see the face of God in both the children and the teachers. One particular child was a boy named Jonathan. I’m not sure what his specific medical need was, but I was aware of his motor skills being hindered. The teacher assistant, Emmy, asked if I would rock him while she patrolled the other children running ramped in the classroom. As I held him in my arms and looked deep into his enormous brown eyes, I saw a beautiful child of God who was absolute perfection. Despite his afflictions, he reached for my finger and held it while I rocked him to sleep. My heart melted. Here I was, a college student, who took my own abilities for granted, holding this perfect angel and at that moment I felt complete peace within myself.
Another child, who I absolutely adore, was a toddler named Ryan. Ryan, who looked like an ordinary child, but who I concluded had a breathing problem, was amazed by my partner at the site, Megan and I. Each time we passed by the classroom or saw him in the halls his little face would light up with such delight and again my heart would instantly melt. The teachers are also extraordinary people. I witnessed the love and compassion they have for each child and the dedication they have for their jobs. They made us feel welcomed and involved as well. As for the Sisters of St. Joseph, each were amazing in making us feel welcomed and bringing us closer to the Lord. Each took part in helping us pray and reflect on our duties as a person and how we are supposed to provide justice and love for all; the poor, the sick, the needy.
Although the week is not yet finished, I leave a small part of my heart in the city with the children I interacted with and those I was able to help. I wish I could stay longer but this experience has sparked ideas and gave me that extra push to help others both in the Winona community and my own community back home. I walk away with sorrow for those who I could not help within the short time but I also walk away with a new perspective on life and the world as a whole as well as love for those people I have encountered and the new friendships I have made on my journey here in Rochester.
~Aimee Boggs ‘20