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Growth in Community

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

by Sonia Gonzalez, Cap Corps DC 2019-2020

Sonia and Br. Dave on a bike ride in DC

I think a lot of people associated my decision with doing a year-of-service with my complete hesitancy in really ever expressing a career related passion. That was in large part because I changed my major twice and stuck with it at the end just to say I finished a pre-med track, although I knew I didn’t want to go to med school. I was incredibly unsure of what I wanted to do after my time at Notre Dame. I think that 21-year-old me felt uneasy at the thought of jumping into concrete career ambitions when I still felt unsure of where I was emotionally and mentally at the end of undergrad. I’m incredibly thankful for the lack of clarity that pushed me to even look into programs like Cap Corp - a program that would require me to give of myself to a community and a social services agency without really knowing what I was getting myself into. For some reason, I was attracted to the ambiguity of it all, and I felt complete peace when considering the possibility.

I’m thankful for my time in the Capuchin Volunteer Corp, however messy the process of getting here was. I am surrounded by 4 amazing ladies that really challenge me to be true to myself as we live together as a family in a home in a northeast neighborhood of Washington, DC for a year. COVID-19 disrupted our routine and actually allowed me to go home to Dallas for some time. Being taken out of my community for two months and then returning only heightened my appreciation for all that Cap Corp has added to my life and the skills I feel I now have under my belt.

I was able to work from home for Catholic Charities DC, my placement site, during my time away from the community. I work within the department of Immigrant Support Services, and during the pandemic, our priorities as an agency shifted towards crisis case management. It was an eye opening experience and one that’s still unraveling itself as I write this. My roommates were in similar situations within their respective placements, and their support through this time through phone calls and Zoom-time has been key in how I process my day-to-day interactions with some of the most vulnerable communities in DC.

Being able to ground myself in concrete personal goals during this past year was a breath of fresh air. I am working on creating habits within my faith life, relationships, and personal care routine, and I prioritized knowing myself and nurturing my relationship with God before pursuing career ambitions. Forgoing financial security right out of college was definitely stressful, but I have to recognize my own privilege in being able to live the way that I do.

Our community came to the program carrying different burdens and intentions for this year, but we created a small little family amongst the the amazing Capuchin friars, many of them still in formation themselves, who walk along-side us. They provide examples of what it looks like to continuously work at your faith life and to live with such a strong conviction to always put service for others first. I’ve been moved by this example. A big part of this year was being able to recognize the talents given to me by God through the help of my community. I hope to use these talents after my time with Cap Corp, and I don’t think I would have said that with such confidence a year ago.

Sonia Gonzalez was a DC Cap Corps Volunteer 2019-2020 and served at the Spanish Catholic Center. She is currently pursuing a law degree in Texas.

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