Hello! My name is Aspen Cherrito, and I’m a current senior at St. Teresa’s Academy. As a graduation requirement, we have to complete 90 hours of service at one agency. This past year at my school’s annual service fair for rising juniors, I stumbled across the St. Mark Center booth. A man named Gene introduced himself to me and began to explain the mission of St. Mark Center. I was instantly hooked. Gene offered something to me a lot of the other service agencies did not: a distinct passion and positive energy for serving the community.

Walking into St. Marks for the first time this past March was something I will never forget. Every morning, all the students and teachers gather in the auditorium and sing songs and dance together. Despite it being early in the morning, everyone is giving their maximum energy, smiling and laughing to everything.

One moment that I always look forward to while volunteering is breakfast and lunch. Ms. Love, the Sous Chef, comes in everyday to greet the kids. Although she isn’t a teacher, she has such a close relationship with the students and the students adore her. The same goes for Chef Amiel. The kids run up to him with endless hugs every time he stops by the classroom.

This is what stands out to me about St. Marks:  Every person knows each other and cares about one another. It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher or work at the front desk, everyone is part of a family and wants help each other grow to become the best version of themselves.

I would recommend volunteering at St. Marks to everyone. Not only do you get to spend the day with hilarious kiddos, but you become part of their family. We read stories together, create art together, eat snack together, and laugh a lot together. The special relationship I have with the kids is something I will always hold dear to my heart.

Interested in volunteering at United Inner City Services? Complete the Contact Us form, and select “I want to volunteer” from the drop down menu.