This spring, we asked three graduating seniors to share a day in their life as they participate in one of the Campus Ministry programs at Archbishop Mitty High School. This entry comes from senior Ali Bell, who participates in Cornerstone, a program that combines a student youth group experience with community service opportunities. The reflection is the final part of a three-part series:
Four years ago, I sat in the chapel a couple inches shorter and with braces on my teeth. As a first semester freshman, I joined Cornerstone because I hoped to make some friends and have the opportunity to perform community service. Fast forward three years and I have accomplished all of this and more. Through participating in various Campus Ministry programs, I realized God’s call for me to give back to the community. Through my work in Campus Ministry, I have also come to better understand the profound effects of poverty on our community. Looking back on the priceless lessons AMHS has taught me, I decided to go back to Cornerstone as a senior leader and recreate this transformative experience for others. Little did I know that my younger sister, Chloe Bell, a sophomore, would be joining Cornerstone as well.
Chloe and I don’t always get along. She steals my sweaters and I steal her hairbrush, yet somehow we both decided to go to Archbishop Mitty. Our mutual decision to join Cornerstone allowed us to share a common goal, despite sibling rivalry. I remember how we talked about Cornerstone activities in the car as I drove us home after every session. We laughed about how fun it was running around the quad during our outdoor energizer activities in the on-campus meetings. We complained about how hard it was to keep our homes during the Poverty Simulation, an exercise where Cornerstone members recreated living below the poverty line by juggling paying pretend bills, taking care of pretend children, and working pretend jobs, all without a substantial pretend income. We realized together that while it was pretend for us, it is real for many people living in our area. Finally, when I picked Chloe up from her service site days, she told me the joy she felt when giving kits for classroom lessons to teachers at Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT) and the creativity she expressed at Queen of Apostles Elementary School, where she invented games to keep children entertained. These stories on our 20-minute ride home brought us closer together and allowed us to share a mutual love for Archbishop Mitty’s Campus Ministry program.
I believe that Cornerstone’s impact on my relationship with my sister is representative of Cornerstone’s effect on the relationship between Archbishop Mitty students and the greater community. When people become present to each other for the sake of forming a connection, as my sister and I did in the car, a bond of trust is created that brings human beings together and in turn brings human beings to God. For every Archbishop Mitty student that says “yes” to Cornerstone, there is a moment of God’s love, because Cornerstone is a program that enables students to reach out beyond their immediate community and to say, “I am here.” The presence that Cornerstone encourages its students to give to the greater community is telling of the message of our school as a whole: “Go out and share your gifts with others to create a better world.”