Friday, July 27, 2012

Clelian 2012: A Service Trip Experience

This blog post is dedicated to Maggie, our furry friend who passed on while we were at on our trip. She brought much joy to everyone at Clelian, and she will be missed. 

The first week of July, my friend Christina and I have traveled to Clelian Heights in Greensburg, PA - "An Exceptional Place for Exceptional People". This is a school/work opportunity for those with special needs run by the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, the same sisters that run my high school back in Hamden, CT (Sacred Heart Academy). 

I first got the opportunity to make a service trip here two years ago with my friends Heather, Kristyne, Brittany, Jenna, and Christina. I was unsure of what I would encounter here. When we arrived, we were greeted at the Pittsburgh Airport by two wonderful sisters who truly made our experience enjoyable. 

Clelian Heights offers summer opportunities for students (ages 5-21) as well as adults (21+) in classrooms or the workshop. Christina and I got paired up to work in the workshop with the adults  and I was looking forward to it. I got to meet many awesome people who work at the Center, live at Chip's House (men's housing) and the Apartments (women's housing), and those who help run the Center. I was truly touched and wonderfully excited to go back.

It would be different with just Christina and I going, and I was excited to see everyone again! We were there for the Fourth of July and helped plan the festivities for the adults since the school was closed. We got to take a driving tour of Pittsburgh, visit the William Penn Hotel, go to a BBQ stand with the GREATEST pulled pork sandwich explore the Mall with a coworker Mary Beth (and got some new shoes!), and have dinner with the Sisters where we got to learn more about what they do.  

It was a great experience and I hope to return for a longer amount of time! Each of the people I got to work with have a special place in my heart and I am reminded of their quirks everyday!

Obligatory tourist picture with the Cathedral of Learning!

Driving up to the school

A gorgeous view from the backyard of Clelian!
Decorated the bikes for the Fourth of July
Christina and Michael dancing!

 Some of my favorite brothers love the swings! 
Service trips are great experiences and always proves eye-opening for me. At Saint Michael's, I was able to travel to Buffalo, NY in 2011 to work in the Nativity-Miguel Schools for a week with a great group of people. I'm looking to go on another one before I graduate, maybe to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, Big Thicket Reserve in Texas, or an international trip to India or the Dominican Republic! With SMC there are so many opportunities to give back and help out- there's something for everyone!

If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me, ask me a question on formspring, or comment! 
Have a wonderful weekend! 
Katelyn :)


Monday, July 16, 2012


David Bowie's song Changes is the theme for this blog post!

As the summer is well underway, there have been a lot of changes that have been in and out of my control. What I do to prepare for them and adapt to them demonstrates to me how adventurous this next year will be!

1.  Finally got the bill in the mail for next semester and had to call Financial Aid because the loans I had accepted weren't reflected on the bill...hello another $4000! Just got some answers and that got a weight off of my shoulders.

2. All the work I've been doing this summer is paying off! My funds are slowly starting to grow (so far  have $2500 saved up WOOHOO!) and I've feeling more and more confident that I will be financially sound when I travel to England...that is after I get the change of currency! I might even have some money left over to have savings for when I return.

3.  With my boss gone the past week, we've all had to step up here at the Helpdesk, especially the fact that we had some issues that were unforeseen. We also had our first Registration Day this week - where incoming freshmen come on the campus and register for classes, take placement exams, etc. While the unforeseen issues give everyone a bit of a headache, it shows that we are able to survive without having to rely on our boss for all the answers. Don't tell him that though haha!

4.  I got more information on my time abroad! I'm living with my friend Eleanor and six others in a house about a mile away from where my classes are. With that also came my courses, and to my avail, one of the classes I really wanted to take was no longer an option. My replacement would be an elective and not help me in my major, so I'm looking to switch to a class that would fulfill a requirement for my major or minor. I'm still waiting to hear back from the department heads to see if this is possible. Fingers crossed!

5. Contingent upon the fact that that class gets accepted to transfer, I have room to declare yet ANOTHER minor. I know. Y'all think I'm crazy. A double major triple minor? This girl cray! I just need a few more classes to be eligible for a Religious Studies minor and heck, might as well go for it! This also means that my schedule for the rest of my time here at SMC will be lots and lots of work. That's okay though because I enjoy the work and classes 0 just gives me more things to learn!

6. And of course, I just found out that my Theatre Senior Sem is only offered in the Spring. So that might mean I have to take it as a many. changes. 
All the courses I have left at SMC. SO WEIRD!

So these are just some of the ramblings going through my head right now. I know everything will work out in the end with just a little more elbow grease. Also waiting to hear back from the British Consulate to get my visa! So many big things are going on and I can't wait to see what else comes my way.

As always, ask me questions, tweet me, e-mail me, whatever you'd like!
Katelyn :)