I’d like to introduce myself as the Center’s new Executive Assistant. I just started working here a little over two months ago, and I already feel at home thanks to the welcoming staff and guests I have come to know since August. As the successor of Emily Pickerill, I have some big shoes to fill, but it’s great to have a job that challenges you every day.
The biggest project I’m currently working on is one that Emily and Steve, the Executive Director, started over a year ago—the Community Garden, located two lots north of the Center. We’ve had a great harvest, and I know that spring will bring another wave of excitement in the vegetable bed area. Meanwhile, I’ve been amazed at all the community involvement that has made the establishment of the garden possible. Everything from the paving to the electrical work to the irrigation system has been contributed generously by local companies and organizations, either through discounts or all-out donations. Volunteers have also been indispensable in planting, harvesting, and helping install utilities. I have been blown away by our community’s participation and generosity.
I’m originally from a rural town in southern Illinois but became acquainted with the South Bend community when I attended the University of Notre Dame for a degree in French. Volunteering at La Casa de Amistad Youth and Community Center and performing field research on immigration in South Bend helped me form a relationship with the community I had been living in but had previously observed from a distance. These experiences prompted me to search for jobs in the South Bend community after graduation, and I’m very lucky I was accepted for a position at the Center. My previous experience with not-for-profits includes a stint at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and a summer at Shared Hope, an anti-sex trafficking agency in Washington, D.C., where I also completed a program on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service at Georgetown University.
I’m excited to take on new projects and to watch the Community Garden progress. If I can impact the Center and the South Bend community even a fraction of how much they have impacted me, I will have considered my time here a success!