(Spotlight on: Mrs. Correira, Campus Minister)
Fontbonne is always thinking of new and exciting ways for the students to help out in the community. This year, the junior class is volunteering every Friday at Park Slope Christian Help, Inc. or CHiPS. CHiPS was founded in 1971 as a charity service in Brooklyn designed to provide hot, nutrious meals to the less fortunate community. Per their websites, they also offer “offer seasonal clothing, emergency pantry items, and shelter for young mothers and their children” all free of charge. Every Friday, 6 Bonnies sign up to go to CHiPS and spend the day helping out those in need. The CHiPS retreat is led by Fontbonne’s campus minister Mrs. Correira. The retreat sounds basic; you arrive, you prepare food, you serve food, you leave. But it is far from that. Every week is a new experience; you never know what to expect or who you’re going to meet.
When I attended CHiPS on October 23rd, it was unlike anything I ever imagined. When I was younger, I used to volunteer at CHiPS. As a younger volunteer, I never provided a direct service to the people who needed it. I would drop off food and help sort it. This time I helped serve the people and it was so great!
Before leaving school, Mrs. Correia does a variety of activities in the school’s chapel to prepare the group for the day ahead. She reminds each group to wipe any expectations out of your head. She wants the group to go in with open minds. I found this preparation beneficial. The day turned out to be very positive and the activities became fun.
This retreat was meant to teach a lesson through the experience of providing a service to those in need. Karla Lopez, a CHiPS retreat member, said “My favorite part of the CHiPS trip was seeing the smile on everyone’s face when they received the food. I learned that it doesn’t take a lot to put a smile on someone’s face or to make someone’s day. It’s something that is so simple and should be done more often.” Kyra Petalas also commented on her experience. She said “Something that really touched my heart was when a man told us ‘God bless you, you don’t know how much I thank you for doing this!’ then I told him it was my pleasure and he started to tear up. I will never forget that moment and I would definitely go back and help again.” This just shows how even the smallest of actions can impact someone’s life in such a major way. How can you change someone’s life today?