Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Welcoming Mara Sawdy, New Young Adult Volunteer at the OPW

This upcoming year, I am serving as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in the exciting city of Washington, D.C.! I am currently living simply in the city with my fellow D.C. YAVs as I work at Miriam’s Kitchen and the Office of Public Witness with the Presbyterian Church. The goal at Miriam’s Kitchen is to end chronic homelessness. Miriam’s provides guests with a meal, an art program, and access to various services. When I am there, I get to help people fill out paperwork to get vital records that they may need, help them search for jobs, and get to sit and listen to their stories. The job can be extremely challenging, but it is also immensely rewarding. One day, I helped a guest apply to various jobs on the computer. The next day I saw the same guest at a bus stop, and he gave me the biggest smile and thanked me yet again for all of my help. The Office of Public Witness is the public policy information and advocacy office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Its task is to advocate, and help the church to advocate, the social witness perspectives and policies of the Presbyterian General Assembly. I recently attended a strike of low-wage federal contract workers to protest poverty pay. The entire time I was present at the strike, I felt such a feeling of unity and strength. Hearing the stories of those striking brought me to tears. It has been in small moments like these, whether a smile and thank you from a guest or experiencing the unity of those suffering, where I see God at work.

Mara Sawdy is a Young Adult Volunteer from West Newton, Pennsylvania. Mara is a recent graduate of Westminster College where she majored in environmental science with a minor in peace studies. Growing up, she attended West Newton United Presbyterian Church, where her grandfather served as a minister for 25 years. While at school she was involved in model United Nations, served as a member of the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring, and interned at the Silk Road Fair Trade Market. Mara enjoys reading Agatha Christie novels, Downton Abbey, and visiting the various museums in D.C.