The very best part of working in this ministry is the surprises we get from people who we don’t know. They come to us with some truly wonderful ideas to help others. Such was the case back in January when I received a telephone call from John William Bonia, a student at WPI and a member of the AXQ fraternity. The fraternity brothers decided to make up origami roses and sell them to the WPI student body on Valentines day and donate the proceeds to an organization that works with the poor in the City of Worcester. Isn’t that a wonderful idea?
When I received the call from John asking for information about our ministry I gave him a quick overview and offered to give him a tour of our facilities and show him our works of charity in action. He quickly agreed and we set up a date and time. When he arrived he patiently listened to me as I went through each program and explained its history and what we are doing now. At the end of the tour I asked if he had any questions? He said no, and then proceeded to explain what the fraternity was going to do for their Valentine’s Day fundraiser and that we would be receiving the funds raised.
So I eagerly waited for Valentines Day to come because I truly thought that they would raise very little and was hoping they would not feel as though they somehow failed. But I was wrong. A few days after Valentine’s Day I heard from John. They raised $117.85 selling their origami roses. I was amazed. The students at WPI rose to the occasion!
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the fraternity brothers at AXQ Fraternity and to the students who supported their fundraising efforts. It’s the little things that touch the heart and this act of charity touched my heart in such a way that I spent many a day during lent thinking about it. Thanks guys!!
Say hello to our newest citizen, Maria Quinones. Maria and one of her instructors, Deacon Tony Fiore, are pictured above holding Maria’s citizenship certificate. Maria also worked with Liz Kavanagh, another mentoring volunteer but Liz was not available on the day when this picture was taken.
Maria was a student in our Sr. Alice Petty, R.S.M. student mentoring program. This program pairs one student to one instructor so that they may learn English, citizenship, or computer skills in a small group or individual setting. We have found over the years that some students, for various reasons, don’t do well in a regular classroom environment, but they excel in a one to one class setting. For this reason we offer our mentoring program.
When we first looked at 242 Canterbury St. as a possible new home I had a list of things that we could do that would make it much more hospitable. One of them was to have a handicap ramp installed so that people who could not do stairs would have a ramp. After one or two false starts we finally had an outside metal ramp donated. That was over 3 years ago! It sat in our basement waiting to be installed.
In February of this year, it occurred to me that a friend in this business of “do gooding, “ Bill Fredericks, owner of AllCare Medical Equipment, may be able to help get the ramp installed. I emailed Bill and explained my dilemma and he came right down and looked over the situation and the pieces of ramp I had. I was pretty sure I didn’t have all the leg pieces of the ramp and he told me to contact the manufacturer and see if I could order any missing pieces. And he told me not to worry because he would have his installer come and do the job.
So off I went doing a Google search for ampRamp and found the manufacturer’s contact information. I placed a call and after a few days received an answer from the company’s representative. He asked lots of question and finally told me he would stop by and take a look because he wanted to make sure of the parts we needed. So we set up a date for him to come in. (I was sure he wanted to sell us a whole new ramp.) When he came in he looked at what we had, measured everything and made notes. Then he took a walk around the store and as we did he asked me about what we are doing here. I told him the story and how we got started. At the end of the walk he told me that he thought he could get the missing parts donated and would we be willing sign a hold harmless agreement because the company was not installing the ramp. I told him I would, and to just send along the paperwork.
After two rounds of email questions and answers I received a letter saying the parts would be donated along with a copy of the hold harmless agreement for me to sign, I promptly signed the agreement and sent it back. Another two weeks went by before I heard from the company’s shipper. She told me the order was being put together and she would send me the routing number so I could track the shipment. It was 10 days before the packages arrived. Once I received the parts I contacted Bill at Allcare Medical to let him know the parts were in and he could have his installer come back and finish the job.
On Wednesday, April 13, 2018 the ramp installation was completed and I took the first walk up the ramp and into the office, I was almost in tears because now when Mike Conrad from our Board of Directors comes to a meeting he’ll be able to get into the office without us having to carry him up the stairs! Prayers answered.