Children help parents serve at Catholic Charities

More than 40 special volunteers took over the Orlando office of Catholic Charities of Central Florida on June 19 for its first ever Take Your Kids to Work Day. Together, they created and decorated snack bags for clients coming to the Agape Mission Market as well as the homeless, and cards for residents at Pathways to Care in Casselberry, a respite facility for the homeless. For many, it was the first time they saw where their parents work and how they serve.

Alice Nolan works in advocacy and justice and brought her three children, ages 6 to 11. “I am glad they could come because they get to see where mom and dad go every day and all the work they do for their community.”

Food ministry assistant Juan Vega’s daughter was so excited about going to work with dad and step mom Debbie, who works for Catholic Relief Services, that she had a hard time sleeping the night before. The precocious 8-year old noted, “I liked hanging out with my mom and my dad. I saw my dad doing a presentation and it made me feel glad because he helps other people get food.” Her father’s presentation was part of a tour where children acquainted themselves with various aspects of Catholic Charities’ services.

Giavanna (Gia) B. agreed. “I liked that we got to go around and learn about how they influence the people who need help.” Her father is the food and facilities ministry manager. “He (dad) says he just helps,” she noted, “but when you come here and actually see it happen, it just becomes more real.”

Janiel R. is 10, but quickly grasped the importance of the work his mother, Sully, does finding out the needs of clients to better serve them. He remarked, “My favorite part of today was the tour where we learned about immigration and their offices and how they work and why.” He added, “I want to volunteer and help people.”

Although the official Take Your Kids to Work Day is in April, executive director Gary Tester, who brought four of his children, said his team asked if they could move the day to June as it was easier to coordinate than during the school year. Human resources manager, Rosa Centeno coordinated the effort with numerous volunteers. The day gave the staff’s children, ages 6 months to 16, a chance to see and participate in Catholic Charities’ mission to serve.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic – June 19, 2018