Maria Sauer is a junior Sociology major with a concentration in Human Services, minoring in Religious Studies and Peace and Justice. In her first-year as a Fellow for Students Embracing the Responsibility to Volunteer (SERV) Program, Maria served at a local elementary school where she embraced the leadership and community service training that gave her knowledge of the needs within the community and ways to meet them. With this understanding and values for the human dignity of all, Maria has been driven to continue involvement in her community, including regularly volunteering childcare at Freedom House Ministries, an organization in Green Bay that provides emergency housing to families. Her relationship with Freedom House Ministries continues to grow deeper as she now creates and facilitates programs designed for the children that fosters personal growth and connections with their community. Maria has co-led a group of students on an alternative break trip to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital, where they provided direct service, learned about children's health issues, and grew in understanding Catholic Social Teaching. Maria's involvements continue with the College's Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice & Public Understanding, where she is able to continue growing in her understanding of social issues and connecting with students on addressing issues facing our world today.
Maria's motivation for solidarity and to respect the human dignity of all is what compels her to a future in social work. Being able to connect with communities and hear their needs and then discover ways to meet those needs not only on the surface, but in the roots, is a gift that Maria has demonstrated through her college career.
Through serving my community at an elementary school, homeless shelter, and St. Norbert College's alternative break program as a participant and trip leader, I have been challenged to recognize systemic issues that face my community. I have taken steps to address root causes to issues and to build lasting changes. As founder and president of campus organization Knights Against Trafficking, I focus on educating and advocating on the issue of human trafficking. I am also co-founder of the St. Norbert College chapter of non-profit Party.0, in which I organize parties for students to have shared experiences free from drugs or alcohol. My desire to contribute to sustainable changes has led me to my internship with the College's Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice & Public Understanding, where I connect with my community through leading trainings on Community Organizing, providing resources to campus organizations, coordinating educational programs, and leading advocacy movements.