My name is Marissa Gonzales. I was a Mercy Volunteer in 2016-2017, and I served in San Francisco, CA. I served at St. Peter’s Catholic Elementary School as a 3rd grade co-teacher, as well as the music minister and served on the campus ministry team. It was AMAZING! I even recently went back to San Francisco with my husband, who also served, because my heart is so close to that school and the people in that wonderful city! We are still also very close to our community members Lupe and Nicole and talk often. They are a HUGE part of what made our year so special and we now consider them family. I currently work at a non-profit called the Make-A-Wish Foundation and work in the chapter for the state of New Mexico. The chapter office is located in Albuquerque, NM, so that is where my husband Cisco and I currently live. It is a beautiful city and we are closer to our families, which is nice.
Both my life and my perspective on just about everything were completely transformed after serving with Mercy Volunteer Corps. What I felt most throughout my service year was this overwhelming amount of love and support. From my amazing community, to the awesome Sisters of Mercy, to the great staff and other volunteers. That is what I try to put forth every day, LOVE. Love to my family, love to everyone because that is what I experienced and I want everyone to have that same feeling. I learned and grew so much throughout that year that I feel it’s almost ingrained in me to try my very best in living out the tenets each and every day, even as an alumna. There are so many things that changed within both my life and my husband’s after we served. Things like recycling and taking more care of the Earth, being so much more conscious of the way we live and spend money, valuing the relationships we have and create, and working every day on strengthening our relationship with God. Even in finding work I was influenced by my service year. I enjoyed the non-profit sector so much and felt such a focus on people in Mercy Volunteer Corps that I wanted to continue working on that, and then I found Make-A-Wish, NM! I could go on and on about the impact my service year had on my life, but I’ll end it saying I am so grateful to Mercy Volunteer Corps for a life-changing experience. It was one of my biggest blessings!
Marissa Gonzales ’17: San Francisco, CA