Venturing Away With Purpose

Dana Liuzzo ’23 embarks on a year of service in Minnesota
By Samantha Cheyenne Miller ’13
Dana Liuzzo ’23 knew little about the St. Joseph Worker Program when she decided to attend an informational session about it on the Long Island Campus.

Less than six months later, she had applied and was accepted into the program’s year of service.

“I instantly felt drawn to the four pillars that the program consists of: spirituality, social justice, community and leadership,” Ms. Liuzzo, 24, said.

Ms. Liuzzo, who graduated from St. Joseph’s University in May with a degree in recreational therapy, is set to start her year of service in Minnesota this August.

Not only did Ms. Liuzzo get accepted into the program, she also got accepted into her first choice for volunteer placement, St. Kate’s/CSJ Food Access Hub, which was created to address food insecurity, nutrition and personal wellness needs within the Minneapolis and St. Paul communities.

Dana Liuzzo
She will serve at the food shelf, which offers fresh food and other essentials weekly to community members in need.
“I instantly felt drawn to the four pillars that the program consists of: spirituality, social justice, community and leadership.”
“I will also be working in the community gardens with elementary children, as well as teaching about gardening techniques to intergenerational groups at Garden Nights,” Ms. Liuzzo said. “I am most excited about this aspect of the position because I love working outdoors and tending to plants.”

During the year of service, she will live with a small community of other St. Joseph Worker Program volunteers. They receive stipends for groceries and necessities for the house, and they participate in weekly “sharing of the heart” sessions — a tradition started by the founding Sisters of St. Joseph in Le Puy, France.

“I never thought I would be going to Minnesota, but I can’t wait to explore this new terrain and venture outside of my comfort zone,” the Smithtown resident said. “While I’m nervous to be moving so far away from the things in my life that are so certain (my family, friends and community), I know I will find my independence while pursuing what I’m called to do.”

Ms. Liuzzo, who transferred to St. Joseph’s during the COVID-19 pandemic, feels well-prepared for this next step.

“My time at St. Joseph’s has brought me some incredible individuals who have inspired me to live out a life of faith and service,” she said. “I am so grateful to know my amazing friends through Campus Ministry, who have guided and inspired me on my college journey.”