Jaydenne Garbarino, a 16-year-old junior at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, is inspired by the way Jesus helped those around Him without looking for publicity or popularity. His example motivates her to volunteer for the good of people and to help everyone simply because they deserve it as human beings.

“I volunteer because it’s something I’ve always done. I really enjoy working with the people I’m volunteering with and for,” said the parishioner of Holy Family/St. Lawrence Parish in Essex Junction. “It’ll always be important to me because I’ve become so much more involved with my community and the people in my community. It’s made me a much better person because I’m more well-rounded, and I’ve seen other experiences which gave me more perspective. It’s made me more responsible and mature.”

Her parents, Steve Garbarino and Havaleh Gagne of South Burlington, got her involved in volunteering at an early age.

She has volunteered with Special Olympics, made meals for the Salvation Army and ANEW place in Burlington, helped plan service events for her church, helped organize gifts for children spending Christmas in the hospital, participated in 12 COTS walks, joined a CROP walk and served as an altar server for seven years. Recently she and a friend organized a food drive at Rice.

Jaydenne currently volunteers at the South Burlington Food Shelf.

This year her religion teacher introduced the themes of Catholic Social Teaching. “I think these especially fit into my volunteer service because of ideas like solidarity, the life and dignity of the human person and a call to family, community and participation,” she said.

Jaydenne would like to be an athletic trainer, “but community service will definitely continue to be a big part of my life,” she said.

—Originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.