Last Saturday, June 25, twelve interns and staff members spent their Dignity Project in a morning of creativity, crafts and solidarity as they volunteered with the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in Harlem.
The Community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal (CFRs) was founded in 1988 and lives the Gospel values in simplicity, in the spirit of St. Francis. The sisters’ apostolic mission includes evangelization and working with the poor and homeless.
In preparation for their two-week long summer camp for community children ages 7-13, the WYA interns and staff lent helping hands in accomplishing craft projects. The volunteer period lasted for three hours during which the WYA team was divided into groups and assigned to various tasks such as scraping paint jobs, spray painting, pasting, paint-mixing, lettering, numbering, designing, cutting and coloring props to be used during the CFR summer camp.
“We all need help sometimes, so to be able to be the one to give that physical support to the Franciscan Sisters to help them carry out their mission was a great reminder of the solidarity of the global human family,” says one of our North America interns, Annamica Reding.“The volunteer opportunity allowed us to come together and work side by side with the sisters, which was a beautiful bonding experience as well as a great reminder of the importance of getting outside of our normal routine to touch those who lead different lives than us.”
Another intern, Ana Sylvia Espinosa from Mexico ,shares her thoughts: “I realized that there’s a lot of need in our community and we need to work in solidarity to help altruistic movements to flourish.”
“For me, the beauty of the sisters’ mission lies in the way they have laid their entire lives down for serving others, and to go and share in the volunteer experience is just a reminder for us about our own mission, to build an entire culture that remembers and affirms the dignity of every single person,” shares Weronika Janczuk, WYA’s Director of Education.
The morning concluded with the WYA team spending lunch in solidarity with the Franciscan Sisters and other volunteers present during that day for soup kitchen and other duties, followed by a moment of prayer in the chapel afterwards.
In its mission to concretely uphold the ideals of dignity and solidarity, the World Youth Alliance initiated Dignity Projects which are planned and carried out annually by each internship batch alongside the WYA staff. These projects are rooted from the members’ ideas that they feel reflect the importance of human dignity and can create an impact on society.
The WYA team embarked on this fruitful and fulfilling experience of solidarity and shared how important it was to take a time off of our busy lives and lend a hand to those who need it. The goal for the team at WYA headquarters is to continue with a dignity project every internship batch, in order to bring the spirit of solidarity to local communities.