Tuesday, December 12, 2023

How a soup kitchen is good for the resumé

 Want to know how students in Marisa Cardillo’s senior seminar class learn to add depth to their resume?

They volunteer at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen.

Marisa is an English teacher at Sauquoit Valley High School.

“We create resumes in this class early in the year and I noticed that much of the service experiences revolve around putting in the time here, close to home, with many familiar faces,” she noted. “I wanted to expose them to what it means to serve marginalized, often overlooked or forgotten groups within our greater community.”

So, in 2017, she reached out to the soup kitchen as well as a nursing home. Her class has been making an annual trip ever since.

Sauquoit Valley students at soup kitchen
Photo provided by Marisa Cardillo

“These two service trips are often some of my students' favorite experiences in their senior year elective course. We continue to return because those we serve are so gracious, the volunteers we work with are so thankful, and my students consistently tell me every year how much they enjoy the opportunity.”

In fact, this year, after volunteering at the soup kitchen just before Thanksgiving, she asked her students to write what they thought of the experience. She encouraged them to be honest and provide the feedback anonymously. 

Virtually all of them said they would like to volunteer again.

“It was a fun and humbling,” wrote one student, and “one of the best places I've volunteered at so far.”

Another wrote of “a certain undeniable beauty in volunteering,” but that “seeing the smiles on the faces of people that have weathered so much makes it that much more worthwhile.”

One student spoke of feeling fulfilled when helping others, but that the experience was “a good reality check to see just how important the soup kitchen is to those in need.”

Yet another said: “I absolutely love the fact that they provide food every day, even on holidays.”

One student “took time to reflect on the reality” that some “cannot afford to eat good, healthy food every day.”

Another concluded: “One person can make a difference, but the efforts of many facilitates a community in which there is no shame or judgment, only kindness and generosity.”
Perhaps one student summed it up best: “This day was so special, it made me feel something I have never felt before.”

There was one more comment. It was made at the soup kitchen. Kitchen Manager Mike Pilat chuckled and related: “Some of students said they liked the food here better than at school.”