TMLA Seniors’ International Service

     ”Upon entering the orphanage, a mother placed her young child into my arms. She was a resident of the orphanage where the common room is a room with walls painted too yellow, making the absurd scarcity of furniture poignant. The introduction, in Arabic, was somewhat decipherable to my foreign ears …. As I lifted her up slightly above face level I watched this young girl’s once stoic expression turn into a smile that grew across her cheeks, crinkling the corners of her eyes, and the unadulterated joy that radiated through her countenance.” 

These words of Annie Kendzierski describe her experience in Cairo as a member of her church’s youth ministry group on a summer mission trip abroad. Since Service represents an important value for Mary Louis, we encourage students to become responsible, compassionate citizens that embrace opportunities to respond to the needs of others. Senior Annie Kendzierski in Cairo demonstrates that Mary Louis students expand TMLA’s Core Value of Service even beyond the borders of our country.

Another TMLA senior Karolina Niepokoj also reaches beyond US borders for service as she teaches underprivileged young children who are part of Caritas program in Poland.   Karolina teaches English language and American culture which open up a world of knowledge and opportunities to these children.  Karolina also works with early 20th century Polish documents rescued from the burning of the capital city of Warsaw during the war. These include original documents of Polish army battles, establishment of the Second Polish Republic’s borders, and unique pieces such as the original order of the Battle of Warsaw, as well as the activities of the Polish people who migrated to America. In order to save over 2 million pages of documents, photographs, and army maps in the archives from deteriorating, the Józef Piłsudski Institute of America is conducting a mass digitizing program.  Along with numerous volunteers, Karolina scans and indexes documents to create copies of the originals fit for publishing online.

Growing up in a Polish household and attending Polish supplementary school every Saturday, Karolina is able to appreciate the value of the country’s history and how important it is for next generations to have accurate sources readily available to them in order to keep the culture alive.

As a result of her service abroad to many cities with few or no resources for orphanages or halfway houses, Annie aspires to be an urban planner in cities she has visited like Cairo and Kingston to make sure that establishments meant to provide stability are placed in areas that have adequate resources to make the mission of caring for those in need possible.

According to Annie, “I dream of improving the quality of these buildings, from installing plumbing to harvesting money in community budgets for additional beds in orphanages. It was these children, the ones without their own bed and running water that changed my life, and I intend on returning the favor.”

Caritas Citation in Appreciation of Karolina’s service to Polish children
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