Ursuline Academy's annual Employee Serviam Day was Friday, February 14.
Employees spent their morning spreading love around the community, volunteering at 18 local organizations including Austin Street Shelter, Brady Center, Equest, Family Place, Friends of Stemmons Park, Walnut Place, Children’s Medical Hospital Dallas, City Square, Refugee Resources, Oakhill Academy, and Mi Escuelita.
One group of employees volunteered at Brady Center passing out Valentine’s Day cards, dancing, organizing, and storing food.
“We really enjoyed being together this Serviam Day,” said World Language teacher Camelia Benhayda. “It was such an incredible project and we left the people there with beautiful smiles on their faces. We had a great experience service and being together as a team.”
At Oakhill Academy, another group read Valentine’s Day books to first and fifth graders. They also partook in a Valentine’s Day craft.
“We greatly enjoyed working with the students from Oak Hill Academy. It was particularly fun to see my colleagues use their diverse skills in working with children with learning differences,” reflected Theology teacher Rebecca Holterhoff.
At Austin Street Shelter, UA employees received a tour of the facilities and then helped with sorting food and preparing clothing orders for clients.
“I was really impressed with the level of support each person receives (clothing, meals, bed, and counseling services) as well as the special attention they give to women coming out of abusive situations,” said Science teacher Rachel Clark. “Their ‘Sisterhood’ program offers separate facilities, training, and therapy to these vulnerable women.”
Groups also went to St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, The Stewpot, Notre Dame, CC Young, St. Cecilia Catholic School, and Jan Pruitt Community Pantry.
After a morning of service, employees then attended a reflective Employee Retreat, “Journeying with Christ in the Desert.” Through a focus on the themes of prayer, hope, and sacrifice, employees gained a new perspective on preparing for the upcoming Lenten season.
“Being able to have the afternoon for employees to pause and reflect and slow down from the otherwise busyness of everyday life is a gift,” said Retreat Coordinator and Theology teacher Kathryn Brandt. “It was great to come together as a community and focus on our employee and spiritual formation, especially as we approach Lent.”
In addition to special keynote speaker Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, who spoke on “40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent,” employees also had the opportunity to hear from:
- Fr. Benjamin O’Loughlin, LC on “Relating to God: Taking Prayer from Service to Love”
- Dana Nygaard, MA, LPC on “Healthy Boundaries: Good Fences Make Good Coworkers”
- Kevin Prevou on “Hope: A Map Through the Struggles and Blessings of Everyday Life”
- Fr. Fergal Ó Dúill, LC on “The Three Practices of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving”