St. Norbert College
St. Norbert College
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Linda MaierWhat are you going to do after that? That is a question that I thought would disappear after graduation. Now I find myself with degree in hand, spending a year doing service with Amate House in Chicago, and even before I started people were asking me where I would be when it was over. If they had asked me that same question when I was only a freshman at St. Norbert my answer would be quite different then it is now.

Four years ago I started college with the intent of working in youth ministry after graduation. I studied Religious Studies, with an emphasis in youth ministry and took a campus job that I felt would help me on that path: peer ministry with the ALIVE Team. After two years, I moved more directly into my future field by becoming a Ministry Intern and working in Religious Education and Youth Ministry at St. Agnes Parish in Green Bay. Every year reflection groups that focused on our own faith and vocational formation were a vital component in the program. We met weekly, sometimes just to check-in with how life was going.  Other times we were challenged to reflect on how we saw ourselves and where we wanted to grow.

One year ago, as a senior, I found myself ready to step forward on my own, but my vision for the future had undergone some changes. Youth ministry was still on my radar, but my vision had expanded to other areas of ministry. I decided I had to find out if I was being called to some other work with youth, so now I serve as a Program Coordinator at Blessed Sacrament Teen Center in inner-city Chicago. Every day I switch between morning office work and an afternoon with the kids where I work to build relationships and keep them active with sports, crafts, homework help, and sometimes the occasional outing to a local sporting event.

There are plenty of kids who get loud and obnoxious, or just can't keep their hands to themselves, but I had those same kids in Green Bay; these teens are not a unique sample. The only way our kids differ from a majority of the kids I worked with in Wisconsin is that they are underserved and some of them come from poor families.  This year I live with twelve people from across the United States who have all been called to service. Our goal by living together and working in the community is to serve those who are lost and underserved by society. As I serve at the teen center I'm learning about the triumphs and struggles of teaching three-year-olds, administering HIV tests, helping torture survivors obtain basic help like doctor appointments, and much more. In turn I have cashed in the opportunity to have a good paying job for the chance to live off $100 a month. I find myself being challenged in new ways, like only spending $160 of our $195 when I do the weekly shopping, relying on public transportation, doing a polar bear plunge, composting, and learning new skills like crocheting and piano.

So, what am I going to do after this? When people ask I tell them youth ministry, campus ministry, or the non-profit sector. I realize I might not make a lot of money in life, and the work I do might be hard, but this year has exposed me to the poor in our culture and they exist everywhere. When I leave Amate House I don't know where I will end up, but I feel called to helping youth like those I see every day now, so that they can have greater opportunities and ask more of themselves. Now I just have to wait and see where that path will lead me.

Linda Maier '09

Faith, Learning & Vocation

Phone: (920) 403-3155
Fax: (920) 403-4043

St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181