Monday, September 14, 2009

New Beginnings in a Familiar Place

Hey Guys,

You'll notice it's been a few months since I've been on here. It's not that I haven't done stuff since my visit to the Farm but I didn't feel like recording all the unecessary minutiae of my life and burdening you all (and by you all I mean like 3 people tops) with it. But just to update you a little bit: in the intervening time I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Political Science, took the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test), and spent way too much time surfing the web looking for hilarious links to send via e-mail to all my friends.

But the most significant event (relative to the purposes of this blog) was me applying for and getting hired as the newest Farm Manager at Glenmary Farm! I was super stoked about it partly because I liked my last experience on the Farm so much and partly because it got my mom off my back for not having my life together. All kidding aside, I felt that the Farm was the perfect place for me to do service that really integrated the values of social justice and faith. Various people gave me funny looks when I said I was leaving Notre Dame/Orange County to do service work in Vanceburg, Kentucky. I'll readily admit that Vanceburg isn't exactly a bustling metropolis but it has qualities that make it a special place. The Farm, specifically, inspires a feeling of peace that I sorely needed after 16 straight years in school.

For those not familar with the Farm and it's relation to Vanceburg (and who are too lazy to look at my previous posts) I'll give you the scoop. Vanceburg, Kentucky is located in Lewis County
near the Ohio border. It has a population of about 14,000 with a per capita income around $9,000. Glenmary Farm is run by the Glenmary Home Missioners, which was founded by Father William Howard Bishop in 1939. It serves communities in over 40 locations ranging from Appalachia to the Southwest. It targets communities that are less than 3% Catholic and where the number of people living below the poverty line is nearly double the national average.

The Farm itself began as a way to encourage young men to enter the seminary. However, it morphed into a Catholic volunteer camp. It brings in groups of high school and college students as well as faith based groups to volunteer in Lewis county. These groups work with a local nursing home, adult day care mental health facility, a food/ clothing pantry and anyone else in the community that needs help.

So that's what I'll be doing for the next year. As a Farm Manager I'm essentially in charge of all the groups as they come through and do my own work in the community when no groups are present. I'm really excited for the opportunity to be here and be a part of the community. I'll be updating the blog when I can so follow me when you feel like it. But it's off to bed now. We have our first group tomorrow!

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