By HEAL Staff Writer Jessica Martinez
The Nest, Lincoln County’s first and only domestic violence shelter, houses women and children who have fled from violent situations. During their stay, The Nest is their home. Like a home, the 6500 square feet, 14-bedroom, 6-bathroom facility requires periodic maintenance and upkeep. For this, The Nest often turns to the help of volunteers.
Recently, Alfredo “Tito” Jaras, a Seminarian from Hobbs, New Mexico, volunteered his time to help with various projects at the shelter. He cleaned up the outside, including the playground and gutters.
“It was tough, but I did it with great joy,” Jaras said. “The pain and tiredness was temporary, but the feeling you have for helping someone else will stay forever.”
As a Seminarian, Jaras is in the discerning process of becoming a Catholic priest, and is studying philosophy and theology.
“I’ve always been involved in the church and my parents would take me every Sunday to church,” Jaras said. “I remember the first day in 6th grade the teacher asked what we wanted to be when we grow up. My classmates gave answers such as, police, ranger, teacher, chef, and professional athletes. When it was my turn to answer, I told her that I wanted to be a father. The teacher laughed and told me that all boys can be fathers. I told her that I wanted to become a father for the church.”
Interestingly, Jaras says his life is not that much different from anyone else’s. “I do the same thing as a normal person, the only difference might be that I spend a little bit more time at the church,” he explained. “I play sports, work, go to school, watch TV, and interact with people just like everyone else. In the summer, when we are not in school, we are assigned to a church within the Diocese, Southern New Mexico.”
Jaras credits his parents for teaching him good morals and to do good. “It is important for me to volunteer because I can show my faith through my actions and not just preaching.” he said.
Of his work at The Nest, Jaras said, “The thing that I enjoyed the most while being there was my learning experience. It really opened my eyes hearing stories about life. Life likes to knock us down, and we decide if we want to get up or stay down. The people at The Nest have decided to get up.”
Jaras encourages others interested in volunteering to contact the shelter. “Helping others is not only about giving money, but giving of your time without expecting anything in return,” he said. “A little simple detail can enlighten someone else. Open your hearts and minds to volunteering, because you might find out that you are helping yourself out.”
“We are so thankful for volunteers like Mr. Jaras, who did a great job for us,” said Susanne Francis, Nest Operations Director. “Volunteers are an integral part of our shelter, helping us meet our mission to coordinate and offer support services and safe haven for victims and survivors of domestic violence. We are grateful for the time and effort volunteers dedicate to our cause.”
If you are interested in volunteering, contact The Nest at (575) 378-6378.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact The Nest’s toll-free 24/7 hotline at (866) 378-6378.