Local Teen to Help Lead Fellow Youth in Service Outreach to Saginaw East Side Families

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IMG 1092WHEN: Sunday, June 18 to Friday, June 23
WHERE: Saginaw

SAGINAW - While many of her peers will be relaxing during the first full week of summer vacation, Emily Thelen (pictured left) will be helping three families repair their homes on Saginaw’s East Side. She, along with 40 other young people, will be participating in a week-long service outreach program sponsored by the Diocese of Saginaw called Youth Encounter Service, or Y.E.S. The program provides opportunity for high school students to learn about and fight poverty through the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching.

“Y.E.S. is a super cool experience,” said Thelen. “It’s great to see the work you’ve done and how you’ve affected [the homeowners]. The week reminds me of how blessed I am, and how loving like Jesus is an important part of being a Christian.”

This is the third consecutive year Emily Thelen will take part in Y.E.S., and the second year she will serve as one of the program's youth leaders. Thelen graduated from St. Louis High School earlier this month, and is a parishioner at Nativity of the Lord Parish in Alma.

“The young volunteers are an inspiration to us all,” said Terri Grierson, director of the Office of Christian Service for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. “Their hearts are full of compassion and they want to help.”

Although this year’s Y.E.S. participants will spend part of the week installing drywall and insulation and painting, Grierson explains that the program is about much more than repairing homes. Youth participants begin and end each day with prayer. Throughout the week, they learn how to better empathize with those in need, visit several outreach organizations, collaborate with fellow Christian organizations, learn about Catholic Social Teaching, and hear from guest speakers, including the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw.

“In the end, the whole week is about our love of God and love of neighbor,” said Terri Grierson. “Our daily prayer reminds us of Christ’s love for us. He motivates us to help our brothers and sisters in need.”

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The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw was established by Pope Pius XI on Feb. 26, 1938. Today, it includes 6,955 square miles across Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Sanilac, Saginaw and Tuscola counties. In 1938, The Most Rev. William Murphy, the first Bishop of Saginaw, dedicated the entire diocese under the patroness of Mary of the Assumption.


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