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Committed To: Legal Aid of Western Missouri

Jesuit Volunteer
Kenyon College
Lazarus House
Serving at Legal Aid of Western in Kansas City
One of my most inspiring moments in college occurred when my existentialism professor was lecturing us on Soren Kierkegaard’s notion of the fantastisization of knowledge. As our professor explained it to us, it’s a term which Kierkegaard used to explain the phenomenon of people acquiring knowledge, but failing to incorporate what they learn into the fabric of their being through practice. As a result, the knowledge they acquire has no transformative effect on who they were as individuals. Upon graduation from Kenyon College, I was steadfast to act in a way countercultural to this term, which is essentially, what landed me in Kansas City as a Jesuit Volunteer.

To illustrate what Kierkegaard had in mind, my professor invoked a passage from Eli Wiesel’s “Night”, in which Wiesel recalled a Nazi guard, who would listen to Mozart in the morning, play the violin in the afternoon and murder Jews in the evening. According to my Professor, what Kierkegaard and Wiesel were getting at was that we could devour books on ethics, social justice and humanitarianism for days on end, but we actually needed to incorporate those theories into our lives through action. Otherwise, we would be no more inclined to do good in the world, and (perhaps even more disturbing) no less inclined to do evil.

I left the classroom with a distinct feeling that all my late nights in the library would be for naught unless I incorporated what I had learned by taking time to go out into the world and serve others. In preparing for the upcoming year, I am excited for the opportunity to make positive strides in what Kierkegaard would call “the never-ending process of becoming a self” by putting what I have learned about ethics, humanitarianism and social justice into practice through my work at Legal Aid of Western Missouri.

As a Jesuit Volunteer, I’ll have the opportunity to get a more concrete understanding of what it truly means to affirm the dignity of others through service. Though I have no doubt that this coming year will be filled with challenges, I look forward to learning about how I change is implemented in our institutions. With the goal of becoming more knowledgeable about the practices that are geared towards the affirmation of human dignity, as well as the promotion of the nutritional, material and educational well-being of individuals.

Are you looking to live and work with those in need to build a more just and hopeful world? Give us one intense year, and we’ll give you a sense of purpose to guide every year that follows.

In a culture that values what people have over what they give, JVC is an opportunity to commit to the dignity and well being of others and let faith ignite in action.