Volunteer Spotlight: Pequitte Schwerin
Pequitte Schwerin began her work with Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington in 2006, a short time after retiring from 25 years of military service. Since that time, Pequitte has donated her time, talents and even a minivan!
Volunteers, such as Pequitte, are a blessing and essential to CCDA’s ability to reach and serve our communities. For every CCDA staff member there are 20 volunteers, and if you do the math, that means more 2,500 volunteers actively participate in the Church’s mission of social justice each year.
Pequitte has positively impacted and even helped lay the foundations for many CCDA social justice programs. Her first year of volunteering was with Hogar Immigrant Services in Falls Church; where she helped to edit and update a publication used for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. Additionally, she taught an ESOL class to a diverse class of 15 students.
Her second assignment with Catholic Charities was working with Sally O’Dwyer in formulating the program and processes for the newly developed transitional housing platform, St. Margaret of Cortona. Pequitte visited other like agencies to study and adopt best practices. She helped guide St. Margaret of Cortona clients toward self-sufficiency by assisting in creating parenting, budget and financial information, and nutrition classes. Lastly, she facilitated furniture and household goods drives to outfit the newly refurbished apartments. Pequitte moved to other programs once St. Margaret’s was fully operational, but, enjoys going back on occasion to help clean and re-outfit the apartment for new tenants.
Pequitte’s other volunteer assignments include St. Anthony Parish as a community nurse, and three years at Action in Community Through Service (ACTS) working in domestic violence intervention with perpetrators.
For the last three years, Pequitte has contributed her time and talents to Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) helping to welcome newcomers arriving in the Diocese through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program. Her generous donation towards the purchase of a new minivan is helping to provide vital support to newcomers as they start their new lives in the U.S. The journey begins with transportation from the airport to their new home, and then to a myriad of other important steps towards self-sufficiency, including trips to refugee health screenings, social security, social services, cultural orientation, ESOL classes, school registrations, pre-employment training, job fairs and job interviews. MRS can now go the extra mile toward welcoming the stranger in our diocese thanks to the generosity and selfless service of people like Pequitte.
- Help homeless men at Christ House find jobs
- Sort and organize donations to our Thrift Store!
- Lead activities for children living at St. Margaret of Cortona Family Transitional Housing
- Serve breakfast to the elderly or lead activities at Sr. Martin de Porres Senior Center
- Give backpacks full of needed items to ex-offenders through our Prison Ministry
- Teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for Hogar Immigrant Services or Migration and Refugee Services
- Pack or unload food donations at our St. Lucy Warehouse; assist clients as they pick up food at our St. Lucy Pantries
- Help especially needed on weekends — great group project!
- Help needed at the Christ House Food Pantry!
- Engage corporations in community partnerships
- Help as an office receptionist — in Arlington, Christ House, and other regional offices!
- Join the Catholic Charities Ball Committee
- And many, many more!