Teaching ESL to adult learners at St. Peter's Parish in Worcester, MA

Erin shares her experiences of AMA France during orientation session.

Thanksgiving, English style!

 

AMAs get to know people of all ages!

 

 

 

Missions

The Deadline for the 2014-2015 year is May 1st, 2014! Apply Today!

 

The following sites are available for August 2014- July 2015 Cycle:

 

  • Worcester, MA
  • Chaparral, NM
  • Newcastle, England (both Pendower and Kids Kabin)
  • Philippines

Missions:

 

Worcester, MA 

At this site, the volunteers live at Cana community of the Assumption Center and serve the population of the Main South neighborhood, a diverse tapestry of cultures and languages from around the world. Volunteers work closely with the Religious of the Assumption, who accompany and support them throughout the year. As part of a "whole community" ministry, AMA's are present to many age ranges: children, youth, and adults.  AMA's provide youth ministry, mentoring, and parish ministry through St. Peter's parish (English, Spanish, African, and Children's Masses) and St. Andrew the Apostle Mission parish. Volunteers live on the second floor of the Assumption Center, within walking distance of St. Peter's Parish where the ESL and Mentoring Programs take place. It is is also the home of the "Semillas de Vida"/ "Seeds of Life" garden, which allows the gardeners from the community to live a more environmentally conscious way of life. The Center opens its doors to the community through other events and opportunities such as the Spiritual Library, Knitting Circle, Vietnamese Club, and Lecture Series. 

 

Additional Site Information: Space for 5 AMA's, male or female.

 

AMA Liz Supple reads to one of our friends in the Mentoring Program at St. Peter's!

 

 

Assumption Center, Home of the Cana Community of AMA's

 

Living Room of the Assumption Center

 

AMA Elizabeth proudly shows her knitted scarf, compleded with the help of the Center's Knitting Circle!

 

"Semillas de Vida" Garden (mid-June)

 

Sr. Catherine, Sr. Jurgita, AMA Megan Hannon and Gardner friends at the "Semillas de Vida" community garden!

 

AMA Pierre at Jeremiah's Inn Food Pantry with Coordinator Alex-- Food all stocked and ready to distribute!

 

 

Chaparral, New Mexico

In rural Chaparral, on the US/Mexican border and about 20 miles from El Paso, the Assumption Sisters, along with their partner AMA's, work with the largely recently arrived Mexican population.  The AMA's live and work at Casa Maria Eugenia, running youth programs, and facilitating vacation and summer camps for children and teens.   They also coordinate Friday night  activities for the families of Chaparral;  assist in the nearby middle-school with ESL classes and transitioning recently arrived students; assist with Parish Ministry (for example, CCD, RCIA, youth group, and First Communion preparation); join the Sisters in many peace and justice activities; volunteer at the prison; and immerse themselves in the life of the community.  (see the article on the Straw Sisters of Chaparral)

Additional site information: Space for 2 females, must speak Spanish (or at least have a beginner's level and be open to practicing!)

Casa Maria Eugenia, home to Chaparral AMA's!

 

 

AMA's Teresa and Rachel at Annunciation House with volunteer Monika - El Paso, TX.

 

Teresa and Rachel dressed for Matachines, and (below) performing in front of St. Thomas More Parish in Chaparral:

 

Matachines perform in front of St. Thomas More Church

 

(L to R) Sr. Chabela, Sr. Maria Teresa, AMA Rachel, Sr. Diana, AMA Teresa, and Sr. Evelyn, enjoying each other's company at "Flor y Canto," the sister's Straw Bale House!

 

AMA's in Chaparral experience the beauty of the desert and mountains!

 

England

There are two projects in Newcastle, sponsored by the Assumption Sisters and our AMA UK Sister program, ALVP.  They are the Pendower Good Neighbour Project and Kids Kabin.  A short description of each will follow and more information can be found on the ALVP web site.

  • Pendower Good Neighbour Project

    The Pendower Estate is a group of 500 households in the west of Newcastle. It has been left out of all major regeneration initiatives, though it shares the disadvantages of long term unemployment and lack of opportunity in the area. This results in anti-social behaviour, vandalism, drugs, etc. The project began in 1998 as an initiative of the local churches to build community in the estate and organize facilities for the children, the pensioners and all the residents. There is now a neighbourhood center for activities called the Sunnybank Centre, made up of two semi-detached houses with a flat above and a community garden. The project is staffed by a social worker, part time staff and volunteers.  The project is looking for volunteers who will:  form supportive relationships with residents of all ages and backgrounds through sharing the reality of daily life; use their talents in some of these areas: after school activities, holiday activities, parents and toddlers, community events, gardening, decorating, producing the newsletter, supporting pensioners; and be active members of one of the local church congregations (Anglican, Catholic, Methodist…)

Additional site information:  Shared site placement with Assumption Volunteers in England, male or female.

Sunnybank Centre: Pendower Good Neigbour Project

 

UK AMA's Gladys and Rosa with children of the Neighborhood!

 

Living room of the AMA community (second floor of the Sunnybank Centre)

 

Inside the Sunnybank Centre: All set for the Toddler Group to arrive!

 

  • Kids Kabin

Kids Kabin is an alternative education project based in Walker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It offers young people creative and purposeful alternatives to boredom, which can lead to youth disorder. Young people from the ages of 8 - 13 attend Kids Kabin to do wood work, pottery, painting, fine arts, crafts, cooking and gardening. It also runs residential trips, day outings and camping expeditions. Kids Kabin operates on a drop- in basis; young people coming and going as they choose.  This project is looking for volunteers who: have an interest in the arts;  enjoy working with youth;  are enthusiastic about providing healthy alternatives to the disadvantaged; would enjoy joining in the mission of the Assumption Sisters.  The volunteers in this area of Newcastle will also volunteer at other neighborhood agencies, including:  Wor Hoose ("Our House"), a neighborhood center that provides activities to mothers, men, and young children and St. Anthony's Senoir Centre,  an adult day center, providing activities and companionship to elders in the neighborhood. 

 

Additional site information:  Shared site placement with Assumption Volunteers in England, male or female.

 

AMA Lauren Brinkman leading a craft project at Kid's Kabin.

 

Kid's Kabin: Development through Creative Arts

 

Kid's Kabin: Children's projects in the pottery room.

 

International AMA Community: Lauren (USA), Igor (Ukraine), and Felma (Philippines) enjoy a community lunch together in the Walker community.

 

Wor Hoose Men's Group: Freddie shows off his cake decorating skills!

 

Wor Hoose Community Center - Men's Group Outing to Beamish, nearby "Living Museum" town.  Member Freddie, AMA Lauren, and Sr. Jill

 

St. Anthony's Senior Centre

 

The Philippines

There are a number of youth and community based projects available in the Philippines.

Our main partner in the Philippines is the AMA (Associate Missionaries of the Assumption) Volunteer Program which recruits Filipino and foreign young people who are willing to offer a year or two of service in teaching or apostolic ministries throughout the country. The volunteers form communities of young people committed to freedom, love and growth of each member and service of the poor and the young.

 

The projects vary from year to year. Recent American and British volunteers have worked in primary and secondary schools, teaching English at the Assumptionist Langauge Center, an early childhood development center, an organization that works with street children, rebuilding porjects after the typhoons of 2009, and a l'Arche community.

 

Volunteers wishing to work in the Philippines must hold a bachelors degree (in any discipline) and must be prepared to live with other volunteers in community houses.  They must alos have a high degree of maturity and flexibility, given the cultural differences. 

 

Additional site information:  Shared site placement with AMA-Philippines, male or female.

 

Jenna (2nd from left, top row) with her community in Sibalom: Sisters and AMA's!

 

Distributing relief goods during the typhoon of 2013 in the Philippines.

 

AMA Jenna's (center) first full day in Sibalom, Antique, Philippines! Wearing traditional garb to celebrate Filipino language month.

 

Questions about a mission site? Contact the director and she will put you in touch with a current AMA or AMA who has served at that placement in the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"I began my journey as an AMA uncertain of what would await me, what was expected of me, and what challenges and joys the year ahead would hold.  The flight across the entire United States provided plenty of time for the anxiety and excitement to grow.  From the moment I stepped off the plane, I have felt fully embraced by the astounding community of Chaparral, New Mexico.  Exhausted from my travels, I pulled myself along the airport’s hallways to baggage claim.  There, eagerly waiting, were ten Chaparral children and one of the four passionate Assumption Sisters, to welcome and greet the new AMAs.  With smiles from ear to ear, one child held a sign, “Bienvendios. We love you”.  I was struck, taken aback, and while we went through introductions and hugs, I repeated their words in my mind,  “…We love you”.  They. Love. Us.  While it may have gone unnoticed by others, it was precisely these three small words that put my entire year into perspective.  It reassured me that I was where I was supposed to be, it assuaged any concerns, and it gave me a glimpse of the beauty I would experience throughout my time here.  Before Katy or I arrived in New Mexico, the community had already opened their hearts and lives to us. 

            Following in the direction of St. Marie Eugenie, we work primarily with the youth in Chaparral with particular attention to education.  The children lead lives faced with economic strains, violence in school, drugs in their neighborhoods, and blurry visions of a better future.  With such great need in so many different areas of the community, each day we wake with the motivation to use every interaction and moment through the day as an opportunity to form relationships and serve others.  Whether we are working in the schools, leading Confirmation class, visiting neighbors, or entertaining children on a Friday night, it is an essential desire that both the community and myself walk away bettered by the interaction.  The Assumption Sisters in Chaparral have made amazing achievements in their time here.  It is exciting to see Chaparral growing and the community strengthening.  The Sisters prove to be a vital source of strength and encouragement for us AMAs. 

            I wholeheartedly believe that it is necessary to leave one’s own world and experience the lives of others.  I have come to understand that when one is placed in a life drastically different than their own, it is only then that person can fully grasp who they are.  Suddenly, the person becomes stripped of the superfluous complexities of life, and in true simplicity, can begin to see the things that really matter.  Life in Chaparral is quite different from the comfortable life that I left in New England.  There is such a beautiful strength in the suffering, a strength that is incomprehensible to many people.  For those who do not know a life other than their own, I invite you to step into the experience of another.  I invite you share a meal with a family who welcomes you into their home whether they have enough food or not.  I invite you to experience the sorrow of a family of children whose parents have been deported.  I invite you to feel the strength in the embrace of a dying woman, with her children crying by her feet.  I invite you to sit in a family’s home, see beyond the cracks in the walls and holes in the floor, and breathe in their love and happiness.  I invite you to hold the hand of a child through the fence that divides the United States from Mexico.  I invite you to take part and make an impact on the world around you."

Kristen Penkala, AMA 2007-2008