July 31, 2019

Catholic Community Connection summer fellows gaining valuable work experience at Catholic ministries

The Catholic Community Connection launched its 3rd annual Summer Fellows Program earlier this summer. The program is a 10-week internship that offers students from Catholic colleges real-world, paid work experience at Catholic ministries throughout Northeast Ohio. This competitive fellowship prepares students mentally, professionally and spiritually as they make decisions regarding their future careers and post-graduate work. Each student has been paired with a mentor associated with the organization to help the student learn more about the organization’s mission.

Karmen Sharp, who will be a junior at Xavier University, is one of eight summer fellows. She has spent the summer at Light of Hearts Villa, learning about daily operations and providing care to residents. The following article about her experience appears on the Catholic Community Connection website.

Preparing to Lead

Joining the Summer Fellows this summer is Karmen Sharp. Karmen is serving as the intern at Light of Hearts Villa in Cleveland.

Karmen is a rising junior at Xavier University, where she studies Health Care Administration. She is also a cadet in the Ohio National Guard and is a member of ROTC at Xavier. Karmen is the first student from Xavier who has had the opportunity to be part of the Summer Fellows Program. She first heard about the Summer Fellows Program through Dr. Browne, the director of her major at Xavier. Since Karmen hopes to run a facility similar to Light of Hearts Villa in the future, she thought this would be a great opportunity to learn what is involved.

During her Fellows experience, Karmen has been kept busy learning about the daily operations at Light of Hearts Villa. “Every day has been different. I have been going around to each department to meet the staff and learn about what all is involved with their roles.” Karmen has jumped in to assist with doing a variety of tasks, including helping prepare meals for the residents, assisting with marketing, and meeting with the staff members who provide social work. “One day, I helped with maintenance and literally watched paint dry. However, all of these tasks are important to know and understand. There is a lot of behind the scenes work which takes places in a facility and since I would like to manage a facility one day, knowing every aspect which is involved is important. Everyone’s job is important when it contributes to providing high quality care for others.” Karmen continued with sharing how grateful she is to have the opportunity to learn about managing a senior living facility such as Light of Hearts Villa.

Karmen’s mentor this summer has been Sr. Regina Kusnir. Sr. Regina works with providing pastoral support to the residents and staff at Light of Hearts Villa. “Sr. Regina amazes me. She is very caring towards the residents and goes out of her way to say ‘hello’ to them and ask them how their day is going. She has helped me learn the importance of caring for the elderly and ensuring they receive the best quality of care physically, mentally and spiritually.”

The work experience at Light of Hearts Villa has helped Karmen appreciate even more her focused studies of Health Care Administration. She has also recognized the importance of caring for the elderly and how important it is to work hard in order to help them feel comfortable at a Senior Living Facility. “I have learned a lot this summer and I am grateful to the entire staff. The residents are amazing as well. I feel that I am able to make a difference in the lives of others and hope I continue to do that in the future.”

Catholic Community Connection is a unique collaboration of Catholic-sponsored education, health care, human services and senior living ministries. Working out of a shared mission of Catholic identity and values, Catholic Community Connection fosters collaboration in response to human needs across all stages of life.



About Us

From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Follow us on Twitter