Earlier this year Saint Therese announced the winners of its Youth Volunteer Scholarships,
Champlin resident Hallie Sweeter and Woodbury native Grace Schafhauser. As the school year ends this month, we are showcasing their essays and photos of them receiving their scholarships.
Hallie Sweeter, a sophomore at Champlin Park High School, volunteered in the beauty salon at Saint Therese at Oxbow Lake in Brooklyn Park. In her essay, Sweeter described how much she looked forward to working with seniors and recognized how important socializing is, not only for seniors, but also for herself. Over time she became more comfortable talking on the phone (something she said her tech-savvy generation isn’t used to) and conversing with seniors.
“A large sentiment amongst my generation is our fear of talking to authority and adults, and I definitely feel that volunteering with seniors can help with that,” wrote Sweeter in her essay. “The ability to be comfortable talking with a wide variety of people is an extremely impactful skill, as it helps connect you to others around you. Volunteering with seniors has shown me that, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities, life skills and lessons that have been offered to me through this program.”
Sweeter plans to use her $2,000 scholarship award for college tuition.
Grace Schafhauser, a senior at Hill-Murray High School in Maplewood, volunteered at a memory care facility in Maplewood. She described how she formed a deep connection with a woman suffering from memory loss, which inspired her to continue to volunteer with the elderly because it has allowed her to make multiple meaningful connections. And, it inspired her career choice as she has since decided to attend the nursing program at Texas Christian University (TCU), where she will use her $2,000 scholarship award for tuition.
Schafhauser said working with seniors inspired her to continue on the path of helping the elderly and she came to the conclusion that she wants to be a nurse. “Because of her [woman suffering from memory loss], I have an intimate appreciation for loving support and subsequently strive to make my presence one that emanates compassion,” Schafhauser said.
“As a nurse, I want to be a guiding light on the part of others as they find who they were meant to be and learn to love life again.”
To be eligible for the Youth Volunteer Scholarship, volunteers had to be in grades 9-12 during the 2021-22 school year, and have completed a minimum of 20 volunteer hours with one or more seniors by the date of their submission. They had to reside in the seven county Twin Cities metro area (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Washington), or the western Wisconsin counties of Pierce and St. Croix. The scholarship will run again during the 2022-2023 school year; information can be found at https://www.sainttherese.org/get-involved/volunteer/youth-volunteer-scholarship.