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Ancilla Representatives Visit Sojourner Truth House

March 24, 2011

03/25/11  In response to their mission’s call to serve, Ancilla College faculty, staff and students visited the Sojourner Truth House in Gary on Monday, volunteering their services for the day.

Sixteen representatives of Ancilla College worked on three separate projects, including the cleaning of the surrounding sidewalks around Sojourner Truth House, sewing laundry bags for use by those being aided by the Sojourner Truth House, and updating information folders.

“The trip by students, faculty, and staff opened our eyes to some of the realities of Gary,” said Sr. Carleen Wrasman, PHJC and Coordinator of Mission Integration.  “We were impressed by the expertise and dedication of the staff that makes every effort to offer dignity and respect to women caught in poverty.  We did a little work, but our own spirits were lifted by our ability to give and participate for only a short time in the life of the Sojourner Truth House.”

The Sojourner Truth House is a community resource and day shelter for homeless and at-risk women and was founded in 1997 by members of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, the same religious order that founded Ancilla.  It was created to help serve the needs of the underserved in the Gary area, providing food, shelter, clothing, and services to the poor and needy.

Todd Zeltwanger, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Ancilla College, expressed his pleasure at being able to assist in the efforts.

“I am always so pleased to be able to help out in a small way at the Sojourner Truth House,” said Zeltwanger.  “There is a great deal of positive energy created by working together as a team of staff, students, and faculty.  Every time I visit, I am reminded of the God-given blessings in my life.  I shudder to think of where these women and children would be today without the presence of Sojourner Truth House in Gary.”

Dianna Cooper, Cheer Coach and Athletic Secretary, echoed those sentiments.

“I’ve been to Sojourner Truth many times to volunteer and each time I go I’m affected in a different way,” said Cooper.  “As the team of volunteers cleaned up the sidewalks, I talked with my 15 year old daughter, Katlyn.  “She worried why we would clean sidewalks instead of the inside of the Sojourner Truth House.  As we continued to clean, we came to an area that was full of broken bottles, cans, and other trash, and she simply stated ‘Mom, I’m so glad we’re doing this.  No child should have to walk through this mess.’”

Ancilla College is a Catholic, two-year, co-educational, liberal arts college in Donaldson, Indiana sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

Photo: (Front Row, R to L): Jane Yochum, Sr. Carleen Wrasman, Diana Caldwell, Whitney Smeltzer, Dana Thomas, Shawna Smith; (Second Row, R to L): Ray Girres, Marcia McCartney, Ashlee Heiman, Katlyn Carroll, Dianna Cooper, Lisa Baniewicz, Sr. Henrietta Okeke, Nicole Trudell; (Back Row, R to L): Kirk Weiss, Todd Zeltwanger.

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