2017 Summer WorX Staff Bios
Widian Nicola is a licensed clinical social worker who has been working with youth and young adults for the past ten years. Widian has been a team leader for the WorX programs since 2007 and loves all things service and social justice related. Currently she is an assistant professor of social work at Seton Hall University and maintains a private practice in Lawrenceville, NJ. This summer she will be the Team Leader for the JusticeworX Dunlow, WV trip and faculty member for MercyworX.
Mary Schroeder calls Hamilton, NJ home. She is a staff member at Visitation Home (VH) where she is inspired by her VH family. Mary loves the mission of CFJ and what they all do and teach; she believes that being a part of the WorX community is a way to give back and be a part of that work – helping shape young people in the Catholic faith to be caring and compassionate people. Fun fact – Mary was a part of LeaderworX in 2011 and found her current job at VH while leading the Trenton JusticeworX weeks! This year Mary has served as a facilitator with the St. Matthias Confirmation Retreats and plans to join us as a Team Leader for ServiceworX and summer worX volunteer!
Matthew Rigby (Matt) calls Lyndhurst, NJ home. He is inspired by the enthusiasm for service of the young people on the (Appalachia) trip. Matt joins us as a WorX Staff Member because he really identifies with the motto “Faith without works is dead” and has grown to love the service the group he joins with each summer does in Appalachia. His commitment to this expression of service began with service trips in college and two years of post graduate service in Honduras, and continues through this (JusticeworX) project in West Virginia. He feels honored and very lucky to work every summer alongside inspiring groups of high school students in an under-served region of our country and is really looking forward to this year! Matt will serve as the Team Leader for our JusticeworX – Almost Heaven, WV trip this summer.
Katie Brown calls Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Baltimore her home. She is inspired by her faith, and is especially inspired by Pope Francis. She is choosing to serve as a WorX staff member after having previously served with CFJ as a LeaderworX member for two summers! Katie believes in the lasting change that WorX programs make! A fun fact about Katie – in July 2017 she will finish a year of service with Mercy Volunteer Corps! This summer Katie will join us as a Team Leader for ServiceworX and summer worX volunteer!
Maggie Smith calls Maple Shade, NJ home. She is inspired when witnessing students learn and transform through their service experiences. It keeps her motivated to continue to pursue justice. Maggie learns from them and the communities they work with, which are transformational experiences for her in return. Maggie has worked with CFJ in the past as a LeaderworX member and WorX Administrator over two summers. It opened her eyes and heart to the call to work for justice and peace in our local communities and beyond. She thinks the connection that WorX programs make with faith and justice is important. Jesus calls us to see our neighbors, to connect with them, and to show them love through our actions. Maggie’s experiences with LeaderworX and JusticeworX in Philly, Trenton, and West Virginia gave her the opportunity to learn about and practice these things. She learned how to listen, to reach out, and to recognize the dignity of all of our sisters and brothers, especially the poor and marginalized. The programs of CFJ taught her not only large scale ways to work for this type of change in our world, but also small things she can do each day to show love, to fight for justice, and to spread the Gospel message. This is why she chooses to continue to serve as a WorX staff member. A fun fact about Maggie – she went to El Paso, Texas this spring on a service and justice experience through Villanova University, where she toured the border, met with border patrol, and worked closely with a shelter for undocumented immigrants called Annunciation House. This summer Maggie will be a Team Leader for JusticeworX Trenton and Philadelphia.
Kathleen Reilly (Kate) calls Princeton, NJ home and she is inspired by her family. Kate joins us as a member of the WorX staff because she wants to serve God and those who are less fortunate in our communities. A fun fact Kate shares with us is that she has seen sumo wrestling live! Another fun fact – her mom is also volunteering with CFJ this summer to assist with our ServiceworX programs! Kate will be serving as a Team Leader this summer for our JusticeworX Philadelphia program.
Grace Seme currently calls Boston home, but she is originally from New Jersey. A part of her heart is also still in Ireland from when she lived there for a year. When asked what inspires her, three things came to mind 1. her boyfriend — he constantly encourages her to be the best version of herself and casually makes statements that envision her success (even if she doesn’t see it just yet). 2. Seeing others do good in the world — both big and small acts of kindness inspire her to pay it forward. Reading about successful people, especially the 30 under 30 or 25 under 25 challenges her to do more. 3. A walk or drive on a nice day always clears her mind and gives her fresh inspiration. Grace is choosing to join us as WorX Staff Member after her own experience on JusticeworX, while she was in high school, changed her life. She credits JusticeworX with instilling in her that it is our obligation to help others — not just something nice to do. It’s a responsibility we all have to each other and our faith. Continuing to serve keeps this mindset alive for her and paying it forward puts it in action. Grace loves seeing and hearing stories of what people have done to make a difference in the world, and this program helps all to realize that every one of us can make an impact – big or small. A ?fun? fact about Grace – she shattered her left elbow while trying to learn how to drive her dad’s motorcycle, and had to miss her own high school graduation. Grace will be volunteering this summer on our JusticeworX Dunlow, WV trip!
Tom Bartolomei (“Bart”) calls Hamilton, NJ his home. Every summer Tom never fails to be inspired by the wonderful young people that he meets. They give him hope that the future will be in good hands. Tom greatly admires the work that CFJ does to offer to young people rich, immersion experiences that serve to integrate an understanding of one’s faith, social justice and community service. He feels blessed to be a part in helping to make those experiences a reality. A fun fact about Tom – in 1956 he was voted the “most handsome baby boy in Trenton, NJ”! Tom joins our WorX staff this summer as one of our regular volunteers on ServiceworX programs as a driver for our service groups. He also plays an important role in providing VIRTUS training to all of our WorX staff who need that certification.
Christopher Thorsen (Chris) calls Edison, NJ his home. He is inspired by helping others and by his family. Chris is joining us as a WorX staff member because he believes that service is fun! A “fun fact” about Chris – he’s in the Army. Chris will be joining the Almost Heaven, WV JusticeworX team this summer as an adult volunteer from St. John Vianney’s Youth Group in Colonia, NJ.
Will Cronen calls Cranford, NJ his home. He is inspired by the fight to work towards an equal playing field for all, where everyone feels their intrinsic worth is something that is valued. Will is serving as a WorX staff member after having learned about CFJ last summer and working with us on our 2016 JusticeworX programs in a variety of ways. He has really enjoyed the mission CFJ stands for, and the intentional community we look to grow and foster in all that we do. A fun fact about Will – he has sung in Carnegie Hall before (but believes his singing days are limited now). Will joins our Dunlow, WV JusticeworX team this summer as an adult volunteer.
Boyoung Kim (Bo) calls Los Angeles, California her home. Bo is inspired by her faith and Saint Mother Teresa to always work toward greater good. She chooses to join our WorX staff to meet and serve with new people in and from different parts if the country. A fun fact about Bo – she visited the Holy Land last year! Bo will be serving as the Team Leader for a week of JusticeworX Trenton this summer.
Debby Seme calls Martinsville, NJ her home. She is inspired by her belief in the goodness of people. Deb chooses to serve as a WorX staff member because she believes in the mission of CFJ – to help inspire and train young adults to lives of service. A fun fact about Debby – she can speak “whale”! Debby will be joining the Dunlow, WV JusticeworX team this summer as an adult volunteer.
Ann Reily (Annie) calls “wherever her family is” her home. Ann is often inspired by the underdog and she chooses to join us as a WorX staff member so that she can give back and gain perspective. A fun fact about Ann – she does not have a sense of smell! Ann joins us as a volunteer with our ServiceworX programs this summer as a driver and volunteer staff member.
Nicky Manlove calls Seattle, WA his home. Nicky is inspired by lots of things – including that one time he saw a squirrel eat half of a pizza! He believes that being a part of the WorX staff keeps him humble and honest and that the world will be healed by building authentic community and living for on another. A fun fact Nicky shares – his very first car was a bat mobile (he also discloses that at the time he was six years old). This summer Nicky will be in the LeaderworX cohort, but also joining us as a “Team Leader in Training” on several weeks, where he will take significant ownership of being the overall lead on some of our programs.
Mary Mallavarapu calls Edison, NJ her home. Mary is inspired by God, life, family, friends and hope. She wants to serve as a worX volunteer this summer to be part of the change she wants to see as well as to create a dialogue and awareness. A fun fact about Mary is that she grew up in Queens, NY and Apple Valley, California – biggest claim to fame – she’s lived in the place that was home to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
Sarah Michalowski calls Verona, NJ home. She is a licensed clinical social worker and has her doctorate in social work. Sarah’s volunteer experience began in high school and then throughout college and beyond with various mission trips and retreats. During a volunteer experience in college, a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, she was further inspired to become a social worker. To Sarah, a true social worker is carrying out the mission to help and serve people who are the most vulnerable and in need, just like Mother Teresa did and said, “Faith in action is love, and love in action is service,” which reminds her of a root belief of CJF, “Faith without works is dead.” She was introduced to CJF through a friend during the summer of 2016, in which she participated in multiple programs in different roles, and thoroughly enjoyed the time with CFJ. Since she experienced a change in herself from service work at a young age, she is passionate about being able to guide and help others while leading them on their life’s journey of service and faith. Leading and watching others grow on their journey from helping and serving others is a rewarding experience. The best way she can explain it is through this quote by Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Sarah feels strongly about others being able to find themselves and their passions from serving others through faith and love. Her passion lies in mission work, ministry, and exploring the relevance of social work in ministry and spirituality and the role of ministry and spirituality in social work practice. Participating with CJF allows Sarah to do just that. A fun fact about Sarah, she wants to be professional photographer.
2017 LeaderworX Team Bios can be found HERE
The LeaderworX Team is compromised of young adults seeking to develop themselves personally, professionally, and spiritually through service to those in need, education in Catholic Social Teaching, and orientation in peace and justice advocacy. By helping to facilitate the Center for FaithJustice summer projects, LeaderworX community members minister to middle and high school students as they seek to grow in faith, serve others, and develop a deeper understanding of justice. These individuals are core members of the summer WorX Facilitator Team listed above that lead our weekly programs!