Feature Story

Adrienne Andrews, Executive Director of Notre Dame/AmeriCorps first met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 2004 as a volunteer in Watsonville, California. The journey that led Adrienne to California and then to the Notre Dame/AmeriCorps National Headquarters in Baltimore began in Youngstown, Ohio.

"Growing up in Youngstown, my brother, sisters and I attended public schools. Only a small number of the high school students in our city went on to college.

The area
 was economically depressed and for many college was unattainable."

Adrienne Andrews

Our parents and grandparents encouraged us to aspire to college and a career that would provide for our future. All of us worked during college and had some financial aid to help with the tuition. When I graduated from Case Western Reserve University, I wanted to help others gain the advantages of a good education."

"Volunteering for Notre Dame / AmeriCorps right out of college was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Adrienne, top right on her site visit to Arizona

The connection
with the other volunteers and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur fostered growth and was fun. We learned about education, service and life. It was a transformative experience for me."

Six months after returning to Ohio at 
the completion of her service, Adrienne returned to National Headquarters in Baltimore in the role of administrative assistant.

Adrienne and Baltimore and DC Volunteers at a special NASA awards

Over time, Adrienne took 
on more responsibilities and became the Associate Director and succeeded Sister Katherine "Sissy" Corr as Executive Director of Notre Dame/AmeriCorps this past September.

The following are questions posed to Adrienne during the course of the interview for this article:

Are you enjoying
 your new role?
 AA: I am enjoying it. Sister Katherine "Sissy" Corr was an excellent mentor who gave me the opportunity for hands on learning across all aspects of the program. It is a big responsibility, but I was well prepared for the things that are routine as well as for the inevitable surprises.

What have been your priorities over the past few months? 
AA: I have been focused on listening to the current realities, needs and comments from the site directors, volunteers and sisters. I want to ask good questions, listen attentively and support others in their service.

What have you discovered
 in your discussions with the Notre Dame Mission Volunteer/AmeriCorps (NDMVA) site directors and volunteers? AA: I am impressed with their spirit and commitment. Many have expressed concern about the kind of rhetoric about immigration or people living in poverty during the past year, but they don’t let that kind of thing stop them. In fact, more than ever the volunteers are committed to helping their students develop and learn.

What is the current relationship between NDMVA and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur? 
AA: It is a role we cherish and take seriously. When I say we, I mean all of us, national staff, site directors and volunteers. We cherish our SNDdeN heritage and we continue to build on that foundation.

Are you hopeful about the future? AA: Absolutely. I recently heard Sister Simone Campbell, SSS say that hope is a communal virtue. That really struck me. Hope and community are at the heart of our ministry. I am hopeful that together Notre Dame/AmeriCorps will continue to build on our strong foundation well into the future.

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