Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

The Call to be Present for Hope

February 12, 2014

  By Lauren Snell, Columban Volunteer

Columban Volunteer Lauren Snell and Intern Carlo Chavarria by the border quilt on the national mall.

As I write my final blog, I think about the ideas of representation and solidarity. Throughout my time with the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, I have come to understand the need to be present, present in my own life and present for others who cannot be here, in order to make impact.

I have additionally learned so much from the people around me.  I have seen such selflessness through the experience of fasters from the Fast4Families Campaign in order to share the dire need to keep immigrant families together, and to see them as those with equal human dignity. I have witnessed the strength that advocates have had on Capitol Hill when addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, despite opposition. From working with interns, I have learned to appreciate the joy of curiosity and the need to comprehend the needs of others. From these experiences, I have become both a student and advocate of social justice.

Opening other people’s eyes to struggles, struggles that Columbans witness everyday in their communities, was additionally unbelievably gratifying. Knowing that by lobbying for those most vulnerable I could help make their lives better gave me hope.

Overall, I have come to understand that hope has no expiration date. It has no limit for growth and no specific path. Challenges that delay the opportunities for these vulnerable people to reach their full potential only feed the determination of those who are willing to advocate for positive change.

Always in the back of my mind on a work day are the journey of St. Columban and his persistence to continue his call, despite opposition pushing him back. As I walk forward, leaving one phase and walking into another one, I will continue to be resilient