Life after RU
Spirit of Volunteerism Flourishes in Class of 2011
Service is a core component of Rockhurst University. While in school, students blend learning and leadership with opportunities to benefit their community and the world. That includes service learning projects, service immersion trips and involvement in student organizations that focus on service.
In the class of 2011, 11 graduates have chosen to continue that tradition of service beyond Rockhurst. They will commit a year – or more – to doing full-time service work through various agencies. Here are a few of their stories.
Psychology, political science, philosophy
David Maddox will join the Peace Corps after graduation. Although he doesn’t know where he will be placed yet, he will work on community development issues for 27 months with the organization.
“It gives me an opportunity to engage with the world community and to learn about myself, as well as grow as a person, by working alongside others,” Maddox said. “The atmosphere of service here (at Rockhurst) has greatly helped in my decision to join the Peace Corps.”
Bonnie Kane will join Precious Blood for one year of service after graduating. She doesn’t know where she will be or what kind of work she will be doing.
“I chose to do a year of service because I wanted a chance to really immerse myself into something new. I want to serve others,” she said. “In my future I want to become a social worker for underprivileged youth. I feel that a year of service would be such an amazing learning experience.”
Little Rock, Ark.
Annette Toomer will join Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in Yakima, Wash., after she graduates. For one year, she will be the Kinship Navigator Program Assistant with Catholic Family and Child Services there. In this position, she will work with foster families.
“Service is the only thing I can imagine doing full time,” she said. “Giving my time to the benefit of the less fortunate is something I feel I have to do in order to give back to our community. I have been given countless privileges throughout my life and it's time I put those privileges to use in areas that truly need them.”
St. Louis, Mo.
Dominic Zanaboni will join Alumni Service Corps after graduation. He will go to Loyola Academy in St. Louis where he will teach math to middle school students in addition to helping teach P.E. and coaching soccer. Loyola Academy is an inner city Jesuit school that serves high potential boys who are in danger of failing to achieve that potential because of poverty or other socioeconomic factors.
“I've really bought into the Jesuit philosophy of an active faith and learning to apply my spirituality in tangible ways,” he said. “Over the next year, I'm hoping to engage students so as to offer my own knowledge and experiences to them, but also to learn something myself. The Alumni Service Corps offered me this opportunity. This next year will certainly provide me with direction and meaning in my journey into the next stages of my life.”
He also said Rockhurst played an important role in making this choice.
“The liberal arts curriculum and emphasis on cura personalis have prepared me to face the challenges that will be presented to me over the next year,” he said.
Nonprofit Leadership Studies, Theology and Religious Studies
Little Rock, Ark.
Michelle Bornhoft will join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for one year after graduating. She isn’t sure yet where she will be placed or what kind of work she will be doing.
“I have always felt drawn to volunteering. I feel like JVC is the perfect program to give me experience in the nonprofit work force while challenging my comfortable lifestyle,” she said. “I hope to have a life of simplicity that allows me to break the bubbles of society that blind us to the injustices occurring all around us.”
Nonprofit Leadership, Theology, Philosophy
Alison Baldree will join Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Hartford, Conn., for one year after graduating. She will be the Case Manager at Immaculate Conception Shelter. Immaculate Conception provides emergency shelter, supportive housing and outreach programs.
She said the Jesuits and their values – with an emphasis on caring for others – had a definite influence on her decision to devote one year to service.
Biology: Cell and Molecular Track
Kim Barth will join Jesuit Volunteer Corps in San Jose, Calif., for one year after graduating. She will be a patient’s rights advocate at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. She will work closely with people who have mental or developmental disabilities to ensure they are afforded their full rights, including acting as their representative in court.
She chose to do this year of service to allow for “spiritual and mental growth before I pursue a medical education,” she said.
“Rockhurst really opened my eyes to serving my community and to work with the poor and marginalized,” she said. “I had never know about this program before I came to Rockhurst .”
St. Louis, Mo.
Kyle Flynn will join the Alumni Service Corps in Denver, Colo., for one year after graduation. He will teach history at Regis Jesuit High School. He said this opportunity will provide him with the chance to get experience in the classroom while still living the Jesuit values.
“Before attending Rockhurst, not only had I not heard of the ASC, but I hadn't seen myself as a potential educator,” he said. “Rockhurst supplied me with the information and the academic tutelage to get into the program, as well as the inspiration and drive for social justice.”