BSM alumnus speaks to Discipleship classes about volunteer work
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Monica Shaffer, a BSM alumnus of the class of 2010, has proven to be an inspiration to many. Shaffer currently works Ascension Place, and has dedicated her life to service by helping a wide variety of women who come from all walks of life. Just recently, Shaffer spoke to Discipleship classes about her experience at BSM and the volunteer work she has done since graduating.
During her time at BSM, Shaffer participated in three sports, including Cross Country, Nordic skiing, and Track and Field. She was also involved in band, National Honors Society, and the Red Knight Volunteer Corps. “I’ve always been volunteering and I’ve always been passionate about supporting women,” Shaffer said.
After graduating with a double English major in college, Shaffer was ecstatic to find a job that would allow her to use education in a fulfilling way. However, she soon realized that her perspectives on work changed. “I was so excited to get to work with books, but I started to notice [that] there was a huge gap because I wasn’t doing something. It didn’t feel like I was doing what I was truly passionate about and I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people,” Shaffer said.
To refocus her volunteer work, Shaffer decided to be involved in a service program in the Twin Cities where she lived in an area of low-income housing for a year to experience the conditions of others in the community. “We lived off [of] $100 a month, which is what you get when you’re on government assistance, so we could truly understand what it meant. I was surrounded by women who had the same passions as I did. I felt really fulfilled by [being with] those women,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer now works at Ascension Place, which is a safe environment for women when they need help restarting their lives. These women have experienced hardships such as chemical dependency, mental illness, domestic or sexual violence, and incarceration. Ascension Place allows these women to rebuild their lives with stable housing and gives them opportunities to succeed in their futures. “I am constantly reminded of how incredibly fortunate I am to get to work with these beautiful, wonderful women every day. They have fought through so much more than the most of us will ever and they are stronger, tougher, and more resilient than anybody else in the world,” Shaffer said.
Even with an undecided future, Shaffer will always be volunteering and helping people in need. “I will always be supporting women and I want to always be doing something that works in a system much bigger than me. I want to help our society as a whole to recognize what we need to change because we don’t need to change the people to fit into our system; we need to change our system to include these people and everybody,” Shaffer said.