Meet The Colleagues
How Danica Is Impacting Communities
Danica Hendrickson graduated from Seattle University in 2000 with a B.S. in General Science and was commissioned that same year as a Krista Colleague. She joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and served for a year at Santa Teresita School in East Los Angeles, CA. After her year of service, Danica was hired as a sixth grade teacher and junior high science teacher at Santa Teresita School and taught for two years. She then took a few years off from teaching to volunteer for a short time in India with the Missionaries of Charity and earn a Masters of Education in Mind, Brain, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has returned to teaching junior high science at a Catholic school in Southern California.
Danica reflects, "Being a Jesuit Volunteer afforded me the opportunity to live and work in a part of the US that was incredibly different than the one I grew up in and a place that people that don't live there generally avoid. It is very true that there is great suffering in Boyle Heights (the part of East LA in which I lived). There are living examples of poverty, addiction, violence, and racism, but there are also examples of hope, love, and truth."
One example of that hope was Santa Teresita School where she volunteered, and later taught science. "Here was a Catholic elementary school with dedicated Dominican Sisters and teachers that worked incredibly hard to provide a good education and a beautiful shelter from the harsh world that our students lived in. Many parents worked several jobs to help provide their children with this education. Of course, there are many struggles that an inner city school faces, too, but the education that STS was providing was a step toward freedom from the cycles of poverty or racism that our students were facing."
With a growing academic and experience-based portfolio in the field of education, Danica has begun moving in the direction of curriculum development. She recently wrote: "This past year, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to develop a water education curriculum for a community in El Salvador. I was hesitant to accept this opportunity without first making sure that the NGO's I would be working with and the service we were doing was ethical, sustainable, and helpful. Throughout the years, The KF has taught me invaluable lessons about ethical service and I was able to use this knowledge to critically analyze the work that I would be doing.
"Working with Engineers Without Borders-Orange County was a huge blessing in my life. It reminded me of my passion for service, taught me that my educational skills transfer outside the classroom, and allowed me to witness true community. EWB-OC has worked for over a year to help 3 semi-rural communities in El Salvador to build a water tank. This water tank is just one piece of a larger water distribution system that will eventually supply the community with water. The community members with several community organizations have been working on this project for years and it was inspiring to be able to witness the dedication the community members have to this project and to one another. My small part in this project was to help the engineers design hands-on lessons about water that the local teachers could use in their classroom. Five of us traveled down to El Salvador in December to help complete the construction of the water tank and present these lessons at a teacher training."
For Danica, this experience proved the highlight of her year, and confirmed her sense of call to continue working in curriculum development.
Danica's Service Bio
I was the director of an after-school program and a teacher's assistant at Santa Teresita in East LA. I also volunteered at a Juvenile Detention Center, although this wasn't part of my volunteer 'job'.
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