Editor’s note: Learn more about Anne-Marie Elsinger, DC Service Corps member and volunteer at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School.
Anne-Marie Elsinger joined DC Service Corps shortly after graduating with bachelor’s degrees in music and social work from Loras College, a Catholic school run by the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa. Born in Herndon, Virginia, she grew up in Woodstock, Illinois. “Washington, DC, is the only city I’ve really wanted to live in,” she confided. “It feels like home because of the vibrant culture and active community.
Anne-Marie got to know the District of Columbia through Peace and Resistance Retreats sponsored by Loras College every Spring Break. Last summer she served in DC after being awarded a scholarship to go anywhere in the United States to serve in a Social Justice Organization. During this eight-week program, she taught participants how to live peace filled lives and then teach nonviolent communication skills and anger management through Little Friends for Peace.
Ann-Marie’s life has always revolved around social justice and service which is why she began to discern a year of service. The idea to apply for DC Service Corps came from Anne-Marie’s spiritual director. “He sent me the job description for the Don Bosco position and said it was exactly what we talked about. He knew I wanted to work in a high school setting in order to discern whether I want to go on to become a high school social worker.”
Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, under the umbrella of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, offers students a unique opportunity to attend class four days a week and then participate in the Corporate Work Study Program, working one day a week in a professional setting. As the students’ contact person for the work study program, Anne-Marie sees them off each morning in addition to managing infractions, and keeping up updates on students’ and corporates’ files. Anne-Marie will also be the assistant girls’ basketball coach in the Winter.
One of Anne-Marie’s favorite saints is St. John Bosco because of his devotion to working with young people in need–the population she hopes to serve in the future. Like St. John, Anne-Marie has lived in communities before as part of college hospitality houses, and the prospect of living in intentional community during her service year was part of her motivation to join FMS.
“The Casa San Salvador community is the most incredible group of people I have ever experienced,” she said. “It’s the first time that I’ve felt part of a community that has such good chemistry. It’s such a charismatic and compassionate group and everyone is prepared to grow together. This is the kind of community I could live with for a very long time.” She enjoys the delicious and meaningful dinners, evening prayer, and morning yoga with her “Casa family”.
Anne-Marie’s interests are well rounded: her musical interests extend to singing (jazz and opera) as well as musical theater. As one of nine children, she is also very competitive in basketball and enjoys playing often. Anne-Marie walked the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage from France through Spain with her friend Allison, now a fellow volunteer serving in Pittsburgh through MercyCorps.
The organizer of the Class 33/DC Service Corps Brookland scavenger hunt, Anne-Marie is already an authority about the Brookland neighborhood where Casa San Salvador is located and a vibrant addition to the FMS community.
Reflection question: When have you felt most connected to a community?