Much to the delight of the Office of Vocations and Face Forward, we received over twice as many service award applications as last year. Each submission was full of wonderful experiences and activities done by students in 8th-12th grade throughout the Columbus diocese. Although there were many superb candidates, the two that were selected as this year’s winners were Cara Shaver and Jonathan Eskay Zins. Today we want to share a little bit about our first winner, Cara Shaver.
Cara was adopted at the age of three, from the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala adopted. Since then, she has shown her appreciation for the nuns who helped her in her early years by doing a variety of service projects to raise money in order to support them and the orphanage.
In 2007, Cara started an ongoing project called “Beads of Hope” where she hand makes rope and bead rosaries, rosary bracelets, bookmarks and key fobs and sells the items at church bazaars, jewelry stores, school and to individuals. She started this project in order to raise money to send to the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage in Guatemala where she was adopted.
For the last three years, on the fourth Sunday of every month, Cara organizes the sale of Guatemalan coffee after Masses held at her parish of St. Paul the Apostle Church. 100% of the profits go directly to benefit the children at orphanage as well.
Here is a look at Cara’s essay on the importance of service and giving back to the community.
I have a strong passion for helping children, especially those without a family who live in impoverished conditions. I know how it feels to be an orphaned child, having lived the first three years of my life in the Hogar Rafael Ayau orphanage, located in Guatemala. After being adopted and feeling the love that every child deserves, I find it important to support the orphaned children who remain at the Hogar. I appreciate the blessing and support that I have of a loving family, Catholic Education, and Catholic faith. It is my desire for all children to have the opportunity for this. By going on mission trips and keeping in contact with the nuns I found that they wanted to build a new orphanage, church and school in a more peaceful location for the children to grow up in away from the pollution and noise of the unsafe area of Guatemala City. I knew in my heart that I wanted to help with this project. The children and nuns are my forever family that I care deeply them. I will continue to help raise money through my “Beads of Hope” small business, coffee sales, events and other fundraisers. Visiting the orphanage has helped me find that my goal in life is to bring love, happiness and security to children thus making a difference in their lives. After graduation, I plan to study Special Education and hope to work with children who need extra patience and attention. Through this field of study I hope to give back to the community. I admire Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta for the love she had for all people. Her quote “We can do no great things, only small things with great love” is the motto I want to live by and spread throughout the world.
Tomorrow we will introduce you to our second winner, Jonathan Eskay-Zins.