Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Marillac St. Vincent Family Services has established a relationship with Christ the King Jesuit Prep, a high school on the West Side of Chicago. Marillac St. Vincent Family Services partners with the school as part of their work-study program. Students work at a company or non-profit organization one day a week to offset the price of their education and learn valuable business skills and professionalism. This year, we have four students working in various departments, including Marillac's food pantry, the Development Department, Nearly New Thrift Store, and St. Vincent's Outreach Department.
Throughout the course of the year, one student in particular, a senior named Heaven, has shown such growth and development that Christ the King recently highlighted her story as part of their monthly e-newsletter. Read the story below! We are so proud of Heaven and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.
Heaven ‘14 is one of CTK’s many outstanding student-workers who will be graduating this June. Heaven, who plans to attend college next year, works at St. Vincent de Paul Center—a non-profit organization that provides various social services to at-risk families on the North Side of Chicago. Throughout the year, Heaven has worked incredibly hard doing everything from organizing food drives to pricing merchandise in St. Vincent DePaul’s community store. However, what makes Heaven’s story so inspiring is her commitment to both personal and professional growth.
At the beginning of the year, Heaven’s supervisors at St. Vincent DePaul hoped to see her open up more with both her co-workers and those in the community. Thus, Heaven began Christ the King’s Professional Coaching Program, where she met weekly with her mentor Mr. Pete Valiaka—one of CTK’s generous volunteers—and vastly improved her communication skills. After receiving valuable advice and practice regarding conversation in the work-environment, Heaven has shown an incredible turnaround at her job.
“Over the past few months, I have witnessed Heaven open herself up to our staff and clients,” says one of Heaven’s supervisors, Katy. “She has found a way to channel her strengths and interests into helping make our community stronger and better.”
Now that Heaven has opened up with both her supervisors and those from the community, engaging in sincere conversation and building relationships have become the favorite parts of her day.
“I really enjoy talking with both our staff and our clients,” Heaven says. “It is always inspiring to hear their stories and get to know more about their lives; I have learned so much from them this year.”
Heaven is grateful for the people at her job who have given her another year of invaluable work-experience. The CTK senior says that her supervisors always encourage her to view each new experience as an opportunity to grow; Heaven knows that this new outlook will serve her well in the rest of her life. As she graduates and goes on to college to pursue a career in dentistry, Heaven leaves behind an everlasting mark on the St. Vincent de Paul community.
“We are thankful for her presence and commitment to our mission,” says Katy. “We cannot wait to see what the future holds for Heaven.”