April 20, students joined Frank Daggett and Kathryn Cody from the College’s
Mercy Center on the 80-mile round trip to Fryeburg, Maine, to help complete
renovations at the Mother Seton House. Founded on the mission “to support
pregnant women, new mothers and infants in need,” the Mother Seton House
provides an opportunity for Saint Joseph’s students to give their time to a
good cause. One of the crewmembers was nursing student Krista Ethier-Whitmore
’14, president of the College’s Habitat for Humanity Club.
work begin for the College at the Mother Seton House?
Center has had a connection with the Mother Seton House for a while – during
baby-goods drives, this is one of the organizations we donated items to. Frank
Daggett doubles as Mercy Center director and advisor for the Habitat Club, so
when he told me about the work going on at the Mother Seton House, I knew that
I personally wanted to help and that it would be a great location for Habitat
to donate time.
for Humanity Club started working at Mother Seton House last semester. We had a
workday in October where we helped clean old plywood and plastic sheeting out
of the garage, then did some yard work. We returned on April 20 to do some
projects on the inside of the house. The house is almost finished and ready to
of the Habitat club, do you see more than just club members participating?
We have had
Habitat officers and members participate, folks from the Mercy Center, a few
representatives from the Feeney Players, and a some students who were looking
for community service hours. I like to keep the Habitat programs open to anyone
who is interested in participating. If the desire to help is present in
someone, then we can find a job for him or her.
What was the
day like for you and the other volunteers?
in Fryeburg at 10 a.m. Mother Seton House Director Cyndi Broyer was there to
greet us and gave us a tour of the house to show us the progress and what jobs
were available for the day. We broke for lunch at 12:15, and when we were done
eating, we wrapped up what painting jobs were left and cleaned our brushes and
workstations. We left the house at 1:20 p.m.
plenty of projects for us. The house has three stories plus a basement, and
there was something to do on each level. Most of what we did was to paint and
clean floors and bathtubs. A few students helped set up a shelving unit in the
basement. The third floor needed some wall spackle, two closet floors needed
scrubbing, some students spent their time on the porch to paint closet doors,
and Frank Daggett was outside working on the yard. One non-SJC volunteer came
by and helped with some kitchen cleaning, and a hired plumber was working on
the second-floor bathroom.
I painted in
the biggest bedroom that had the most jobs. Including myself, there were five
people in there to paint. I also washed the closet floor that I had painted
earlier in the day. This wasn’t as simple as using a mop. The floor needed a
liberal scrubbing with a sponge.
you describe the progress of the renovation?
things left to do in the house, the only structural needs are to install some
closet and cabinet doors and to place the washer and dryer on a laundry
pedestal. Other than that, there are several cosmetic jobs, and a group of
volunteers is scheduled to finish those things next weekend. Our work was
contributing to the last leg of the race. After the cosmetics and furniture are
taken care of, the house will be ready.
your time with the Habitat for Humanity Club been like?
involved with Habitat my freshman year as a club member. In my sophomore year,
I was elected as vice-president. Last year’s president asked me if I would like
to be president for this year, and I of course said yes.
I stick with
it because I am excited about Habitat’s mission, and participating in the
improvement of others’ lives enriches mine. I cannot speak for the other
members, although many of them have told me that working with Habitat does not
feel like work, but rather it is fun. I also feel the same. I have done a lot
of other volunteer work here at SJC and in the past, but Habitat is special.
Being able to enter into a home-building or improvement project and see the
progress that your work has done instills a certain sense of gratification.
about building homes, but it goes deeper. We are building a place for
successful futures, and we are supporting community. I do the work I do because
I believe that one should do the right thing just because it is right. I feel
that I am being the best “me” when I work with Habitat and missions similar to
How does the
work at the Mother Seton House inspire you?
of Mother Seton House is to “support pregnant women, new mothers, and infants
in need.” The house itself is a physical refuge for these people, but there are
programs in place to teach these women how to transition into independent
living situations, find jobs and learn other tasks in order to support
themselves and their children. Any time a woman is in a desperate situation but
chooses to hold on to her children and make them a priority, it should be easy
for her to find resources to help her in that decision.
I am proud
to support MSH because doors of opportunity are being opened for these women
(many my age) and their beautiful babies. My contribution to the house gets
these gals one step closer to a safe, compassionate home, and this is
about the Mother Seton House and Saint Joseph’s Mercy Center, visit them online
at www.mothersetonhouse.com and campus ministry.