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Nearly 1,200 volunteers walk through the doors of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas each month with the purpose of helping others.  What they often find though, is that it is nearly impossible to lift someone else up without feeling a little inspired themselves. This is the case for Karen Camarata, a volunteer tutor since January 2015 for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas’ Citizenship classes.

Karen and her husband were long-time Catholic Charities’ donors who had also assisted with seasonal events.  Before volunteering for the Citizenship classes, however, she didn’t have much familiarity with all the programs offered by the organization.  When Karen found herself with some free time, her mind turned to Catholic Charities.  Coincidentally, a posting asking for volunteers for the new Citizenship program, appeared in her church bulletin.

“I thought it was a good place to start,” says Karen. “It was new, and I like meeting people with different backgrounds.”

Although a nurse by trade, Karen quickly discovered her teaching ability.  In the last two years, she has dedicated over 220 hours to helping individuals achieve their goal of U.S. Citizenship.

“She is a very positive, energetic and dedicated tutor,” boasts Tracy Fuller, Citizenship Program Manager for Catholic Charities. “The students love her.  Whenever our staff observes her classes, the students are laughing and enthusiastically working on the lesson.”

For Karen, the reward is reciprocal.

“They inspire me!” exclaims Karen. “I had the privilege of tutoring a middle-aged Somali woman and her 20-year-old daughter.  I held the 20-year-old’s newborn daughter as we reviewed facts about the War of Independence. I was suddenly struck by the recognition of the courage it took for the matriarch to bring her family out of violence to a new country and of the sacrifices she had made. Surely it was all worth it to see her daughter and granddaughter grow up in freedom and safety! I am honored to be a small part of the process.”

To learn more about our Citizenship classes, visit:  catholiccharitiesks.org/citizenship-classes

For more information on how you can volunteer for this or other programs at Catholic Charities, visit:  catholiccharitiesks.org/volunteer

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