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THIS is Human Services

People sometimes ask, “What is Human Services?” THIS is Human Services – intelligence and compassion combined with pure determination to improve our world.

Meet Lisa Blanchard, who started The Grateful Garment Project in her capstone class at NDNU.  Last week, her video about her project, which has become a nonprofit serving a population of over 12 million people, “went viral” with over TWO MILLION views:

Kylie Hicks, a former Human Services student, commented, “yes, yes, a million times yes!” and also volunteered her own perspective about Human Services:  “I came to the NDNU Professional Studies Program after earning a bachelors degree in a discipline that was different than the field I ended up working in. I work in higher education and business, and enrolled in Human Services classes last year. What a valuable, wonderful program! The high-touch experience, welcoming administrators, and expert faculty make me glad that I chose Human Services. I began applying what I learned in the classroom to job in real time. I was also lucky to have the support of my teachers while applying to grad school. I begin the MPA program at NDNU later this month, and want to say THANK YOU to the Professional Studies Program, and the Human Services department in particular, for helping me to achieve my goals.”

This definition of Human Services – intelligence and compassion combined with pure determination to improve our world – applies to the work of so many of our students from the past 27 years of this program’s existence, individuals who are using their education to improve the lives of so many people and who bring their expertise to organizations and communities in ways that make a difference.  We’re proud of each and every one of you.  The work that you are doing, both when you are getting the attention that you deserve (like Lisa) and when you are toiling away to quietly provide essential support, is awe inspiring.  Thank you.

Graduate in the Spotlight: Lisa Blanchard

Lisa BlanchardLisa Blanchard will be speaking at a symposium at USF tomorrow; information about it below, registration is FREE, and you can sign up right at this link.  Here is a description about the symposium and the issue that they are addressing:

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, including 5.5 million children. 55 percent are women and girls. At the end of 2012, more than 45.2 million people were in situations of displacement compared to 42.5 million at the end of 2011. In fact, more people are refugees or internally displaced than at any time since 1994.

USF For Freedom presents a symposium on the Jesuit values and practices of accompaniment, service and advocacy in relation to Bay Area nonprofits serving victims of forced migration and modern slavery. Hear from Mitzi Schroeder, Policy Director of Jesuit Refugee Service, David Batstone, President and Co-founder of Not For Sale, Minouche Kandel, Women’s Policy Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, as well as other Bay Area nonprofits as they share their experience accompanying and advocating for the underrepresented.

Come and learn about these realities and how we can change the world of unjust migration and slavery.

Date: Saturday, May 30, 2015

Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm

Venue: USF Downtown Campus, Room 150, 101 Howard Street, San Francisco.  Lisa Blanchard graduated from NDNU’s Human Services program in 2011; her profile for this symposium follows.  Way to make a difference, Lisa!

Lisa J. Blanchard, Founder, The Grateful Garment Project

Alum Spotlight: The Grateful Garment Project

The Grateful Garment Project began as a Senior Capstone project a few years ago and has grown to support multiple counties and serve a population that numbers in the millions. Their mission – explained in the video – is to support Sexual Assault Resource Centers by providing practical items that help restore dignity to victims of sexual assault. They also advocate on behalf of education and awareness to reduce sexual violence. Check out this 30 second advertisement that they just made as a fundraiser:

Congratulations to Lisa Blanchard, William Cotter, Zita Agassi, and everyone else from NDNU who has worked to promote this project!

Alumni News: Lisa Blanchard

Lisa B

Lisa Blanchard, who founded The Grateful Garment Project , recently addressed a Girl Scout conference, speaking on the topic, “Being Your Own Superhero.”

Thanks to the Girl Scouts, who “tweeted” this photo – and thanks to Lisa, for inspiring so many with her work!

Friday Inspiration and More

A cornucopia of Friday links today:

  1. An inspirational video,
  2. An announcement for a Sunday evening discussion on campus about Syria,
  3. Information about the Office of Spirituality’s Busy Person Retreat, and
  4. Alumni news: The Grateful Garment Project in the news (again!)

First, this moving Thai advertisement, which alumnus Anikka F. shared via Facebook.  Be sure to note the subtitles:

 

Also, on Sunday, September 22, the NDNU Spirituality Interns are sponsoring a discussion over dinner about the situation in Syria, which will be followed by the weekly student mass.  If you are interested in attending the dinner and discussion, which will be in the Center for Spirituality’s Conference Room at 5:30, please RSVP to Diane Enriquez at denriquez@ndnu.edu

In addition, Amy Jobin, Director of the NDNU Office of Spirituality, announced a Busy Person’s Retreat for people of all faiths.  Busy people!  I know some PSP students who fall into that category!  🙂  More information:

Back by popular demand is the Fall Busy Person’s Retreat!  For those of you wondering what a Busy Person’s retreat is, it takes place here on campus and each participant meets with a spiritual director or mentor for 30-40 min. each day for four consecutive days.  It is a great way to “go on retreat” and spend some time being present to yourself, to God and to your life right here on campus.  We have four very talented retreat directors this year- three Sisters of Notre Dame and one Sister of Mercy.  One of the sisters is very knowledgeable in both Buddhism and Christianity; if you have an interest in this, please let us know when you register.  This retreat is open to students, staff and faculty; all faith traditions and spiritual paths are welcome.  You can register by emailing ajobin@ndnu.edu and sending times you are available to meet each day, Sept. 30-Oct. 3.  We look forward to having you join us. 

 

zggp-logoFinally, it is always an honor and privilege to celebrate the ongoing success of alumnus Lisa Blanchard’s Grateful Garment Project, which she started as her capstone project here at NDNU.  Alumni William Cotter and current graduate student Zita Agazzi have also contributed significantly to  this organization and its mission and ever-increasing success on behalf of those who have survived sexual assaults were recently profiled online in a lengthy article in San Jose’s online magazine, Metroactive.  Way to go, Lisa, William, and Zita!

Hope that everyone has a wonderful and restful weekend.