Right before her high school years was when junior elementary and special education major Bridget Flynn realized that giving back to others was more than just a day of service but rather something which would soon become a substantial ingredient of her identity.
“With my parents involved a bit in different church and pro-life organizations and in raising me and my siblings, they were just excellent role models of what it means to truly sacrifice and give, not materially, but of yourself,” Flynn said.
Now as a recipient of the Charles A. Mastronardi Award for outstanding contributions to community service projects and civic engagement, Flynn has put forth her time, energy and compassion into a great number of community service activities and programs at Cabrini.
During her high school years, a service trip with a group of 17 students and chaperones to Guatemala was a life changing experience for Flynn. This was her first real inside-look at the real world.
Although the community work and hands-on help Flynn contributed during her trip to Guatemala were self-rewarding, it was the people throughout the trip who had the largest impact on her, particularly the children.
“They showed me what I had, what I needed, what the world needed and how I, in my country and life, could give it all, not in charity but in solidarity,” Flynn said.
While continuing to involve herself in further areas of the world, Flynn traveled to Ecuador during her sophomore year at Cabrini. Although she missed the ones close to her while being away, Flynn said “The Ecuador trip just reminded me and reinforced these values from my previous trip to Guatemala and my appreciation for everything, but more importantly everyone in my life. I would definitely do it again.”
Flynn is also a member of the Catholic Relief Services steering committee and the CRS ambassador for HIV and AIDS education.
“Originally, when I had been asked to be a team member of this committee I knew very little about CRS. I knew they did work in underdeveloped countries, but that was the extent of it,” Flynn said.
Now, Flynn is now not only more aware of what CRS is all about but has made this committee a full-time commitment. Flynn, along with other students involved with CRS, find ways to reach the campus community as a whole in regards to raising awareness.
“To think of CRS as a whole, really look at it, it makes one a bit awe-struck. And just to be one little person, one little peg in the wheel of the larger vehicle that is CRS in the world, is really a powerful feeling,” Flynn said.
Through ACLAMO (Accion Communal Latinoamericana), Flynn is a volunteer involved with helping immigrant children.
“Working with immigrant children just gives you an entirely different perspective,” Flynn said. “Everything that kids struggle with in and out of school, there’s that added ‘outsider’ feeling in the language barrier.”
Also being involved with the Teen Motivators Club, the involvement Flynn has with children is something that she cherishes.
“Almost every job I’ve had and most activities I’ve been involved in, had something to do with children,” Flynn said. “I just think that they are the most important asset our society has, and are often not given the credit, opportunity or attention they deserve. I decided a long time ago that providing these things for children is what I wanted my life work to be.”
The list of Flynn’s accomplishments and contributions is long. She is also involved with the Debate Society and the Habitat for Humanity Club.
Although it is a lot to deal with and manage on a daily basis, Flynn would not trade her experiences for anything.
“I definitely know what it is to try to interest and motivate and raise people’s awareness, and the struggle that it entails. This is invaluable and indelible experience for me as a future teacher,” Flynn said.
This semester, a main focus and goal of Flynn’s is to raise awareness to the general student population at Cabrini of social and global justice issues.
In addition to raising awareness on campus, Flynn has a personal experience of a lifetime to prepare for because she is going to Ethiopia this summer with CRS for an internship.
Flynn has a strong belief in the power of change. “Many don’t believe that they, as one person, could make any sort of difference,” Flynn said. “But I’m sure that if everybody reaches at least one person in their lives, that one may reach another, and these organizations give you every opportunity to reach many.”