Caroline Schaper, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Year Reflections

Caroline Schaper has been serving full-time as a volunteer program staffer this past year through the Jesuit Volunteer Volunteer Corps. This service organization engages young volunteers to provide service in marginalized communities while focusing on four core values: simple living, spiritual growth, community, and the pursuit of social justice. Her last day at YC is Saturday, August 5; we will certainly miss seeing her around the office and at programs! Thank you, Caroline, for helping make YC such a fun place to be! Here are some of her reflections about her year:

I’m so grateful for my year at Youth Challenge. Before this year, I never had interacted with people with physical disabilities. I knew nothing about the ADA, adapted sports, or disability empowerment. I’m coming out of this year with a newfound passion for working with people with physical disabilities. This passion comes from working at programs and listening to many participants’ stories about their lives. I plan to become a physical therapist to continue working with this population and hope to be able to empower and advocate for those with disabilities in the future.

One program I’ve been helping with since August is ACT Fitness. Every week, a few members of the Alumni Community Team come to YC to exercise in a fitness session led by alumni employee Sara Steimle. The group that comes is nearly the same every week, so building relationships and forming a community with this group throughout the year has been a great experience.

I have also enjoyed being a part of the general programs. The two I’ve enjoyed the most have been Dance & Drama and March Madness Basketball. At these programs, you are with the same group of participants and volunteers every week, practicing or rehearsing for a big end goal. For Dance & Drama, this was the Holiday Show, and for March Madness, it was the Basketball Showdown. It was always great to see the group grow closer each week and for the culmination of their hard work to be celebrated at the end of the program.

YC has brought me so much joy this year, and I’m grateful to be a part of the YC crew!