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Smithosh Mathew 2008 - Developing Leadership

Smithosh Mathew

COLLEAGUE YEAR: 2008 SENDING ORG: L'Arche Tahoma Hope Community REGION: Pacific Northwest LOCATION: Tacoma, WA

SERVICE AREAS: Urban America

Smithosh grew up in rural India. He is part of a L'Arche community in Tacoma, Washington serving as a care partner for adults with developmental disabilities. Read how he will use his grant to help develop young adults to value service back in his home community.

How Smithosh Is Developing Leadership

"The scarcity in my early childhood had a profound impact on my life," shares Smithosh Mathew (‘08), who grew up in rural India. "It taught me the importance of sharing one's resources and our need for one another to live a better life." This experience, along with three years as a Jesuit novitiate, grew Smithosh's curiosity to better understand the world and to serve those in need.

After receiving his Masters' in Psychiatric Social Work from Loyola College in Chennai, India, Smithosh moved to Tacoma, Washington where he serves at L'Arche Tahoma Hope. He provides support and care in this life-affirming community for adults with disabilities. "They are my good teachers who help me trust in other people. My life in the community helps me to grow in the qualities of the heart and value each person as they are." Although many from his home community in India are perplexed by his choice to work for so little money instead of pursuing a more economically stabilizing career, Smithosh believes shared community is a worthy pursuit.

In fact, he desires to nurture back in India the ‘service as a way of life' culture he found through L'Arche and the Krista Foundation. Your generous support for a Service and Leadership Development Grant will make this possible. Having seen Indian youth swept up in the rapid culture shifts and struggling to connect inter-generationally, Smithosh will use his Grant to start a youth leadership camp in his home village in Kerala. Serving 60 youth, the camp will incorporate local community wisdom, from business professionals to campers' mothers, with the goal of fostering a spirit of service and local leadership. Smithosh explains: "It's a way of expressing my gratitude to the village community that helped me to grow."

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