Volunteers Come Together to Share Talents, Build Faith

By Katrina Marshall ’09
Communications Coordinator, St. Norbert Abbey 

Three new Norbertine Volunteers have joined the Norbertine Volunteer Community (NVC) for 2013-2014. Bryan “Henry” Njoroge, Katie Riesterer and Katie Stiel all hail from different parts of the nation and even the world, but these young adults have come together to live in community for a year of service and to grow in faith in Green Bay, WI.
nvc-group

Bryan "Henry" Njoroge
Bryan “Henry” Njoroge

Njoroge, originally from Nairobi, Kenya, in East Africa, has spent several years volunteering in a variety of locations across the globe, including Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, Peru, his home country of Kenya and the United States. A desire for more volunteer work led him to the NVC. As a Norbertine Volunteer, Njoroge will be working in the chaplain’s office sponsored by Brown County Jail Ministries, Inc., which serves the Brown County Jail and Juvenile Detention Center. When asked why he chose to work in this particular field, he replied, “I wanted to help more youth after coming from a poor community back in Kenya.” Njoroge also hopes to learn more about the Norbertines during his time in Green Bay…as well as the Packers football team!

Riesterer
Katie Riesterer
Riesterer, from nearby Grimms, WI, will be teaching 5–8th grade language arts at St. Thomas More School in Green Bay, WI, which is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education System (GRACE). This site is a perfect fit for her, as she is a recent graduate of St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI, with a major in Middle Childhood/Early Adolescent Education and a minor in language arts. As a Norbertine Volunteer, Riesterer will not only be a full-time teacher with her own classroom, but she will also be providing aid to a Catholic school that would otherwise have had to make budget cuts in its language arts program.
Katie Stiel
Katie Stiel

Stiel, of Franklin, TN, graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. She learned about the NVC through the Catholic Volunteer Network’s directory. “I loved the Norbertine Volunteer Community’s variety of internships offered and values they behold,” said Stiel. As a Norbertine Volunteer, Stiel will be assisting with the American Foundation of Counseling Services Foster Care Program, for which she will serve as a mentor and supply life skill lessons to youth ages 10 to 18. “Providing [individuals] with the knowledge and education to take care of themselves will boost their confidence to overcome the many obstacles they may face in the future,” she said.

While Njoroge, Riesterer and Stiel are all very much focused on volunteerism, it is not the only commonality among them. Their faith experience is also paramount. “I hope to make God number one in my life by sincerely giving Him praise and thanks throughout the day, looking for His guidance when I need help, and finding peace and comfort in Him and not through things of this world throughout every day of my time here,” said Riesterer. Stiel also hopes to “continually deepen and strengthen my personal relationship with God.” Njoroge added, “I also love the idea of having [a] spiritual director on my side.” Since service and faith development are two of the major goals of the NVC, their year here in Green Bay promises to benefit not only themselves, but also those whose lives they will touch in the community.
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To learn more about the Norbertine Volunteer Community, please visit www.norbertines.org.

Photo Credit: St. Norbert Abbey

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Staying Actively Involved with Nonprofits: Taylor DeBroux ’14

289326_10152213637829119_1552142353_o“Over the past three years, I have come to learn that the intrinsic rewards you get from working for nonprofits equals, if not surpasses, the help you give others. Knowing that you are dedicating your time to helping someone else, regardless of who it is, or how you are helping, is undeniably fulfilling.”

〜 Taylor DeBroux, St. Norbert College ’14

As a senior at St. Norbert College, Taylor DeBroux has been actively involved in service for the past three years. She has progressively become more connected with service and nonprofits each year through a variety of roles. And this year is no different.

Taylor initially got involved with service as a first-year student through the Emerging Leaders Program. As a sophomore, she committed to an academic year of service with the YMCA by living in Michels Service-Learning Hall. That decision has impacted where Taylor is today.

“During the Michels Hall orientation meeting at the beginning of the school year, residents had the opportunity to hear from all of the community partners. It was at this meeting that I learned the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay was hiring a new employee. Since I was looking for a job, it was the perfect opportunity to apply. I am extremely grateful for this decision because being at the Club has broadened my cultural and professional knowledge so much that I still find the value in working there today, two years later.”

For her senior year, in addition to working at the Boys and Girls Club (BGC), Taylor is interning at Big Brother Big Sisters (BBBS) through her Human Services Internship class. She originally gained interest in BBBS because of how complementary it is to her work at the Boys and Girls Club. Taylor said, “BBBS allows me to gain a better understanding of the administration side of a company, whereas my position at the Boys and Girls Club deals directly with its members. I am very interested in working with the youth of Green Bay and I get to do this every day through different means and with companies that have similar goals.

By being connected to numerous nonprofits in Green Bay and by taking social work classes, Taylor has realized the importance of networking. “The supervisors who I report to at both BGC and BBBS have connections to staff at the YMCA. I have come to realize that making positive relationships with the staff I work with in every company is very beneficial from both personal and professional standpoints. ” stated Taylor.

Taylor has continually been making a difference in the Greater Green Bay community since she first stepped foot on this campus three years ago. Her dedication to the youth of Green Bay has surpassed the usual commitment to service.

“If I were to give advice to my freshman self, I would emphasize the importance of utilizing available resources and jumping into new opportunities as often as possible. I think the best way to get started in service and continue that service is to stay connected. The college offers excellent services to assist you in this. My class choices have guided my service decisions, and in turn, my service work has guided my class decisions. I see my academia and my community work as being equally important in shaping what I do today and what I will do in the future.

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By Laura Riley