VASJ faculty and staff give day of service

From the moment students enter the doors at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, they are taught the importance of service to others. One of the core values of education at VASJ, service is an important component of the Ursuline and Marianist traditions on which the school was founded.

With all the emphasis on the students completing service hours in order to be able to graduate, Principal David Csank decided it was time for the faculty and staff at VASJ to “practice what we preach,” he says.

When a free day became available for the students, he decided to have a Faculty Day of Service for the teachers and staff at the school.

“We’re supposed to be role models for students,” Csank says. “We tell the kids to help others and serve those less fortunate and we need to show them that we do it, too.”

In addition to setting a good example, Csank says, the Faculty Day of Service is a good reminder that it isn’t just the students who are called to do service.

“It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of teaching and educating our students that we forget we are still Christians and Catholics and this is what we are called to do,” Csank says.

“It is important to take a step back and remind ourselves that this is our calling, too - serving others and helping those less fortunate. It is also a reminder to be thankful for everything that we have.”

Csank shared his idea with Campus Minister Jill Latkovich, who made the day happen.

“She did all of the hard work getting it all organized,” Csank says.

Most of the faculty and staff spent the day volunteering at the Cleveland Food Bank while others volunteered at the St. Anthony Day Center, a part of the Rose-Mary Center serving adults with disabilities.

What would normally have been a day off for faculty and staff turned into a very labor-intensive, hard-working day of serving others.

Faculty and staff came to work the following day tired and sore but full of gratification for a job well done.

VASJ faculty and staff prepare sandwiches at the Cleveland Food Bank headquarters.

VASJ faculty and staff sort donated meat at the Cleveland Food Bank.

“It was a lot of fun but it was also rewarding to know that we took time out of our day to give back and do what we are always pushing the students to do,” says Director of Advancement Mary Paxton. “It was an eye-opening experience about how much food can actually be given away to feed the hungry.”

The VASJ working crew prepared over 2,000 sandwiches and sorted over 10,000 pounds of meat during their shift at the Cleveland Food Bank.

“We got a little insight into the tremendous efforts of people working day in and day out to meet the needs of the hungry in greater Cleveland,” says VASJ President Richard Osborne ‘69.

The faculty and staff volunteering at the St. Anthony Day Center spent the day doing crafts with the clients and sorting clothing donations for the children residents.

Staff members Debbe Fischbach and Birtha Ealy sort through pictures at the Rose-Mary Center.

A few staff members spent their time sorting through thousands of pictures to help the Rose-Mary Center with the process of making scrapbooks to give to the families of their client children – something the Center wouldn’t have time to do without volunteer support.

Other staff members spent their time visiting with and talking with the adults clients at the St. Anthony Day Center, something the clients enjoy tremendously. Girls basketball Coach Anthony Redding wasn’t sure who enjoyed the experience more – he or the clients he was visiting with. He plans to volunteer there again in the future.

Latkovich spent her time sorting clothing donations for the children residents at the Rose-Mary Center – a process that was started by VASJ students last year. What was once a room filled with a huge pile of unsorted clothes is now an organized supply room sorted by gender, age and apparel type.

Principal David Csank says it often to the students, faculty and staff at VASJ – “You will get out of today what you put into it.”