Holly Westerkamp '17.

Holly Westerkamp ’17.

As a setter on the girls’ volleyball team, Holly Westerkamp ’17 helped the team advance to their second consecutive regional title last fall and ultimately to the sectional semifinals.

But what really drives Holly is volunteering, and specifically at the Society for the Preservation of Human Dignity, or PHD, in Palatine. The nearly 50-year old agency helps women facing the issues of pregnancy and parenting.

“Our vision is to be a compassionate community,” its mission statement reads, “where dignity is preserved, hope is restored, and lives are empowered and protected — one woman, one child, one family at a time.”

Holly has volunteered there for the last four years, but over the last two, she has found her niche serving in the Baby Closet. There, she works directly with families, supplying them with everything from diapers and clothes to baby food.

“My passion is to serve people one-on-one and face-to-face,” Holly says. “I enjoy seeing the immediate effects of service and I love to interact and smile with those I help each week.”

Holly is just one example of how Saint Viator helps develop students into people of compassion and knowledge, who are committed to justice and called by God to serve others.

“What I find rewarding are the little things that occur each week,” Holly says. “Whether it is getting to know a co-worker better, educating a mother on the necessity of certain baby foods, or laughing at a small child’s giggle. I always leave PHD with my heart feeling a little warmer.”

As for any advice, she would offer to students looking for service opportunities: “Love what you do. Volunteering can sometimes seem like just another requirement, but in reality, it can be one of the greatest opportunities ever.”