A nourishing meal and the Suárez sisters’ smiling faces are a given in the SVdP Dream Center, which provides educational activities for families during dinnertime. What started as a monthly service quota for their high school blossomed into a weekly activity of choice for Debby, Caley, and Casey Suárez.
Debby, a junior at Metro Tech High School of Phoenix, exudes enthusiasm and ease as she greets guests and volunteers. “During the pandemic I almost lived here. While people were waiting in the drive-thru for their food, they really opened up in the safety of their cars. We know their stories, their problems. It keeps us coming back,” she says.
The Dream Center’s vibrant space in the SVdP Family Dining Room is open from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. on weeknights and provides children with an opportunity to learn and have fun in a safe environment. Homework help, tutoring, arts and crafts, STEM projects, chess matches, and more are available any given night. Dream Center volunteers, who range from high school students to community members, support approximately 30 children that take part in the nightly activities, and they need more volunteers.
Caley and Casey, first-year twins at Metro Tech, followed in the footsteps of their three elder siblings and enjoyed interacting with kids and finding common ground. “It changes you,” says Casey, “and you try to understand people more.” The sisters agree that their Catholic spirituality feels alive while volunteering.
In between the hustle and bustle of high school life, volleyball, and homework, the Suárez sisters’ prioritization of volunteerism makes an impact. Debby recalled a particular connection with a young boy who lost his mother to COVID-19. Whether building block towers or working with his learning disability, she understood the importance of giving his father a little break and being a supportive presence in the boy’s life.
When they were very young, the Suárez sisters experienced the Family Dining Room from the other perspective receiving meals at SVdP during a tough time. They know their presence matters.
With their humble charity, dedication, and plans to attend university, Debby, Caley and Casey Suárez show the families of the Dream Center that a better tomorrow is possible.
How to Support the Dream Center at SVdP
You can financially support kids and their families through the Dream Big campaign. Just $3.25 provides a nutritious hot meal and a night of education for children in need. Visit https://www.stvincentdepaul.net/2022-dream-big-campaign to learn more and give today.
If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at SVdP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Volunteer Services Office at 602-261-6886.