Looking for a way to make a difference and have fun while doing it? Consider the many volunteer opportunities that abound in service of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary on the picturesque Villa Maria Community Center campus in Villa Maria, Pa. Open to anyone 21 and older, areas in need of service include:
Special Events • The Farm • Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center • Other Departments/Areas as needed
For more information, call 724-964-8920, ext. 3274.
A Driving Force
Mobile Mission Encourages Acts of Kindness, Helping, Caring
By Connie Moorhouse
When Bob Votruba set a goal for himself, he set the bar high, really high. So high, in fact, that by his math, it will take 55 years to reach it. But that’s OK for this father of three, who has made it his life’s work to perform one million acts of kindness, and he’s encouraging everyone else to do the same.
And just how does one share their message of kindness as a goal with the masses? That was the question the Cleveland native asked himself in the wake of the 2007 mass shooting of 32 people on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus in Blacksburg, Va.
“I watched it all unfold and wondered what kind of hate had to be in someone’s heart to do something like this,” he said. “I drove to the campus and watched thousands of people go through the memorial with their hearts broken, and I knew at the other end of the spectrum there was love and compassion.”
So on the drive home he prayed, and what came to him was kindness as a goal. The carpenter and homebuilder by trade had been looking for ways to help charities but nothing seemed to fit, so he decided to be his own driving force of kindness, love and compassion.
He purchased a bus, and asked family, friends and neighbors, to paint words of comfort on it they wanted the rest of the world to see. And after selling his house and car, set out on his Global Kindness Tour. Opting to make the bus his home, he drives the country talking to groups and individuals, encouraging them to look for opportunities to be kind by helping, doing and caring.
In 2010 his travels took him to Vero Beach, Fla., where he attended a mass at Holy Cross Church, and met Sr. Claire Young. The two became fast friends, and he was more than happy to stop at the Villa, where Sr. Claire now lives, to reconnect with her and share his mission with the sisters.
He said his traveling consists of going to towns and looking for ways to start a dialog with people. Most times he parks the bus and hops on his bike ‒ a more maneuverable mode of transportation ‒ which he outfits with messages of kindness, and rides around town engaging others. His message is simple and clear. What have you done? Get involved. Give of yourself.
He says people have grown away from wanting goodness and kindness for others but insists each person has the opportunity to do one million acts of kindness in their lifetime.
“The math can be anything,” he said, “but it works out to 50 acts of kindness every day for 55 years. I don’t think anyone in a lifetime can do one million acts of kindness but with kindness as a goal, it’s a game changer, a people changer. And it’s amazing what people can do.”
Just some of his amazing acts include riding his bike thousands and thousands of miles across the country at various times to bring awareness to domestic violence, wounded warriors and bullying and adolescent suicide.
This road warrior vows his mobile mission is never-ending. “Through social media, the bus and the bike, this mission will touch millions of kids, and one of those kids will do something amazing,” he said.
And just where he stops, no one knows, not even him, relying on something greater than a GPS when he gets behind the wheel.
“I just say, ‘Come on Jesus, take me to whoever needs the message.’”
And off he goes.
(For more information about Bob and his life’s journey, visit his website onemillionactsofkindness.com)
Sr. Jean Orsuto was interviewed by Gina Marinelli about the work of the Emmanuel Community Care Center for WYSU’s “Doing Good” program. To listen to the 5-minute interview, click the link below.
Sr. Pat Fesler, a grief-support coordinator at Zion Lutheran Church and Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home and board-certified chaplain, will lead a three-day day camp, “Stepping Stones to a Better Tomorrow.” Click on the link below to view the article which appeared in the Youngstown Vindicator.
Sister’s Impact Honored During Leader Symposium
Sr. Millie Ely received the Founders’ Award for Excellence in Governance Leadership during Mercy Health’s recent Governance and Leadership Symposium. She was one of three women honored for understanding and committing to the mission and values; energy and vision to board deliberations to find new ways to address the needs of poor persons and the communities served; modeling personal and professional integrity; integrating personal expertise in support of the mission, and; effectively connecting people and ideas, resources and needs, reality and hope.
The following is taken from the Mercy Health Weekly Update in announcing honorees.
Sr. Millie Ely, member of the Mercy Health Toledo Board
Sister Millie has made a profound impact on the many lives she’s touched — and on the people with whom she’s served. People who have worked with Sr. Millie are touched by her generosity of spirit. She has been a mentor, friend and encouraging voice – professionally, personally and spiritually – for literally thousands of employees, board members, physicians and the sisters within Mercy Health.
Sr. Millie began her healthcare career in pharmacy in 1969 at the former St. Joseph Hospital and Health Center in Lorain, Ohio. From 1978 to 1995, she served in senior leadership at St. Joseph Riverside Hospital in Warren, Ohio, ultimately as president and chief executive officer.
Her leadership, wisdom and compassion made her an invaluable member of the system’s board of trustees from 1997 to 2009, serving as vice chair of the corporate member from 2001 to 2004 and as system board chair from 2004 to 2006. Since 2009, she has served the Mercy Health Toledo Board and currently serves as secretary and as a member of the executive committee.
Her fellow board members note Sr. Millie’s willingness and enthusiasm to mentor, teach and welcome new members, to intently analyze needs before acting, and to ask thought-provoking questions that challenge the board to make decisions that are consistent with stated business goals and carried out in ways that serve the mission and support the vision, values and promise.
Regional CEO Dr. Imran Andrabi says, “Amid her busy schedule, Sister Millie often attends meetings in person that would be easier for her to attend by phone. She does this because she realizes the importance of human interaction, and the board, in turn, realizes the importance of her presence in the room.”
Her spirit, intellect and leadership are truly God-given blessings to Mercy Health.
Presenting Sr. Millie with her award were Michael Connelly, Mercy Health president & CEO emeritus, and Mercy Health board chair Katherine Vestal.
Humility of Mary Housing Appoints New President. Humility of Mary Housing and the leadership of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary are pleased to announce the appointment of Fred Berry as the next president and CEO of Humility of Mary Housing. Click on the PDF below to view the press release.
Congratulations to Sr. Ann McManamon, who was honored at the April 21 ACTION banquet in Youngstown. “We are pleased to honor the ministry and work of Dorothy Day House,” said the Very Rev. Monsignor Robert Siffrin, ACTION president. “Sr. Ann McManamon has been the motivator to foster the spirit of the Catholic Worker movement by founding and operating the Dorothy Day House.” Dorothy Day House of Hospitality provides meals, shower facilities, laundry service and more to anyone in need. ACTION (Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighbors) is a multi-cultural collaboration, which strives to develop a community of diverse leaders committed to raising awareness and seeking solutions to overcome poverty, racism, & social injustice.