The Warmest Welcome Imaginable

-Bernadette Aylward, St. Andrew’s School intern

Dear Reader,

Thank you for visiting! And if you are a member of St Andrews Church, live in Oregon Hill, or work at any of our worksites: THANK YOU! Caps lock is not yelling but me looking into your eyes intensely to try and communicate how grateful I am. We have been welcomed with open arms and so much food. I really had no idea what to expect and it has been incredible. Thank you a million times.

One of the most frequent questions we’ve been getting (besides what is your name, where will you be working, where are you from, etc) is why are you doing this? This is one of the questions for which we all have different answers.

While living in Richmond last year and working a “just for now” job, I was actively seeking something that would lead me to a long-term career. Along with knowing that I wanted to do something a bit more challenging than my current receptionist position, I had always enjoyed working with children. I had also attended Catholic schools and enjoyed living and learning in a religious setting. So among the large pool of interesting, hopefully meaningful jobs I applied to, GOTH rose to the top. Three worksites where I could work with kids, a supportive community, structure and encouragement to think about my future with intention. It was just about everything I wanted. I invested more time and more of myself in the application and interview process. I didn’t tell people I was applying because I really wanted it and it would have hurt to say I didn’t get it. Luckily, I did get it! And I’m so glad to be here.

Our first weeks together have been wonderful and I’m anticipating quite the year. We’ll face challenges in our work and in living together in harmony-but I’m sure we can make it with help from each other, our friends and families, and the prayers of our wider community. I’m working on being vulnerable and asking for help, so here is my request: pray that all of us and myself in particular will meet new experiences with joy, an open heart, and a wealth of compassion.

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