09 November 2008

Notre Dame Mission Volunteers

The second group that will be involved with my year in Kenya, and will be my primary support system, is the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. More specifically, I am a part of their volunteer program titled Notre Dame Mission Volunteers(NDMV).  NDMV is a volunteer program that works in conjuntion with AmeriCORPS to provide opporunities for service within the United States.  The goal is to reach the parts of this nation that are in need of help and are currently underserved.  With 20 services sites, NDMV reaches thousands of Americans each year.  In the spirit of the sisters, the program's focus is on education.  

NDMV is comprised of volunteers ranging from recent high school graduates to recent retirees.  Every person makes a one year commitment to serve the people in their choosen locations.  Service ranges from teaching in Connecticut to rebuilding houses in New Orleans, and from providing services for the children of incarcerated parents in Baltimore to developing the work and community of migrant farmers in California and Florida.

This past year, I was an NDMV member working as a teacher at St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, Ct.  Where I had the pleasure of living and serving with four otherNDMV volunteers.  At the school I had the fifth grade boys homeroom, taught English (5th and 6th boys), Social Studies (5th boys), Religion (5th boys), and coached the girls basketball team.

NDMVA also has an emerging international program which started a few years ago.  In the spring I applied and was accepted to the international program, where I will be serving in Kenya for the next year.

The following is the NDMV mission statement:
Notre Dame-AmeriCorps, believes that education is the fundamental tool in the struggle of the poor for human dignity, self-esteem, and self-determination. We seek to build community among our members, as well as the people with whom we work by reaching out across culture and class. We are committed to helping people help themselves. Our goal is to promote and encourage education, community empowerment, leadership development and multicultural harmony in hopes of producing greater unity, less violence, and better-informed citizens in our communities.