Service Focused: Katie Dominguez ’20 (Immaculata House)
Katie Dominguez takes service seriously. She is one of four school leaders to focus on providing service opportunities to Trinity students. Recently she organized “Sleep Out for the Homeless,” an event that raised funds and awareness for the experiences of 2 million homeless youth in America. Katie described this reality as “heartbreaking,” and was motivated both to educate her peers and join the national Sleep-Out America movement.
To achieve this, Katie advertised the event to the senior class by regularly visiting mentor groups to talk about the event and distributing information and registration papers to those interested. Katie also planned activities to keep everyone engaged. She secured a guest speaker, Robert Mott ’13, an employee at the Valley Youth House in Dauphin County, who was able to provide information and personal stories to Trinity participants about the homeless youth he works with every day. This “really drove home the significance of the sleep-out,” Katie said. They learned more about the homeless experience by watching a film.
The group raised $300 to support homeless youth through a registration fee, but they also worked on holiday gift bags for the homeless young people currently at the Valley Youth House. This activity allowed education and empathy to be turned into beneficial action. The group also acted by living a small part of the homeless experience themselves. After 10:00 p.m., more than a dozen participants huddled together in their cardboard boxes and tried their best to make it through the twenty degree night. Katie described the experience of sleeping outside in November as “challenging,” but that ultimately they “came out of it stronger and more understanding of the plight of others.”
In the morning students enjoyed a hot breakfast; Katie had coordinated with the Lower Allen Diner to set up a warm breakfast for everyone. In the end, Katie and the other students recognized that their experience was temporary: “though sleeping outside demonstrated the reality for many teens, we bundled up in layers, ate a hot breakfast, and were able to return to a warm house, while homeless youth do not have that luxury. I can only imagine how challenging it would be to sleep outside every night.”
Thanks to Katie for her careful planning of this 12-hour event, Mrs. Jo Reider and Mrs. Judi Fejfar for their help in organizing the event, Sister Susan Kuk and Mr. Jose Dominguez for chaperoning, and Mr. Robert Mott ’13 for speaking!