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Inspiring Action

Winner: Angelina Capozzi ('20) 

One group, one goal, one week, with a chance to make an impact not on just the people in Guatemala but on ourselves. A week in Guatemala taught me more about compassion, love and solidarity than I’ve learned in my entire life.

Connecting with someone does not have to be through words but with intention and emotion. Nancy and Hamemmia, both Mayan children around 5 years old, knew I couldn’t communicate the way I wanted to. Yet simple actions like running around the circular flower beds playing tag showed the girls enough to trust me and that my intentions were pure. They ran and tackled me to the ground giggling uncontrollably.

Nancy offered me a lick of her huge blue lollipop, and at that moment I realized this 5-year old who was coming from a developing country, with little in material goods to offer, still wanted to give me everything. I wanted to give both girls the world, but I knew money or candy were not going to make an impact. In the end, I’m just one person who went to Guatemala and would be back in the United States in a week. This small interaction impacted me. I felt so much love for these girls, I didn’t want to let them out of my arms.

This trip was to immerse myself into the culture and understand by listening to the people about their lives and I thank Cabrini for allowing me to do this.

Honorable Mentions

Mirka Espinoza ('22)

I had my eyes first set on Cabrini when I was in high school which was Swenson Arts and Technology High School in that high school it had Allied Health it showed me a lot of experiences which was how to do CPR, vital signs, blood pressure, height/weight, I also got the HIPAA certification. When I graduated from Swenson that is when I said to myself Cabrini is going to be a good fit for me. Coming to Cabrini it was a big challenge because when I first started college as a freshman the professors were nice, but at the same time what I realized was that the professors in college are not going to be on top of me like as an example don't be late for class or do your homework. I am proud of myself because I graduated from high school and in college actually it's my second year, how my parents went through from leaving college and coming to the United States that was really hard but they have worked and sacrificed so so hard in order to keep me and my brother ahead finish our education and further our future. Getting into college was the best thing that ever happened to me because all the things that my parents couldn't have my goal will always be finishing college for four years and have a job or open a business. This is important for me because I want my cousins to see my example.

Michelle Filling-Brown, PhD

Over the past decade I have found that my passion for Cabrini’s mission has deepened as my own faith has grown.  I appreciate that I work at an institution that values social justice and encourages me to explore my own faith. I volunteer for my church’s High School Ministry (HSM).  Every week I mentor high school girls and teach them to rely on their faith in God to get them through life’s toughest moments.  Their faith—and mine—was tested last year when a young woman from our church committed suicide.  I felt blessed that our local high school welcomed me, a volunteer whose son does not attend that school, to help students process their shock and grief.  It was a devastating moment, but it was a moment that was truly an extension of my Cabrini identity. I, along with other HSM leaders, moved “passionately and swiftly,” to show compassion to those who were hurting. At my church our pastor speaks about how we can serve God through our career. I feel blessed that the mission of Cabrini aligns with what I deeply believe in my personal and spiritual life, as I work to respect and serve my neighbors locally and around the world.  I look forward to more years of teaching at Cabrini to cultivate an environment within which students understand that serving beyond oneself is both the greatest education we can receive and the greatest gift we can return to a world in desperate need of care.

Meg Harrison (MS'15)

It was the heavy kind of mud. The thick, dense, stick-to-the-boots kind of mud that adds serious weight to the feet and makes a person’s gait feel monster-like. And there was no shaking off that mud. We just kept working. Carrying the lumber, reaching for more screws, drilling planks, measuring, sawing, digging post holes, none of those tasks needed anything but consistent action. None of us let the heavy boots hold us back. The mud that week in Mingo County, West Virginia, put me in mind of the mud in Mount Sinai, Ecuador. The deep ruts made after a soaking rain softened the earth. I could still hear the grinding of the gears when the van had to be reversed and backed out of those muddy Ecuadoran furrows as I stood in West Virginia, helping to hold up the frame of the back deck we were building. Saying yes is ageless. No one at Cabrini asks for your age when the call to action is made. The passionately committed students, the fiercely empowering faculty, and staff members who engage and participate are all the same in service, in living with purpose. Campus Ministry asked the question, “will you go?” And by saying yes, it occurred to me that the call to action is ageless and ongoing. It does not end at any age. Presence and time require nothing but a nod of agreement and a willing spirit. I am always grateful for that reminder.