John Carroll University Junior enjoys summer internship in Collinwood
John Carroll University junior, Katie Neary, was looking for experience in her college major this summer. St. Jerome had an opportunity. Katie joined the parish office staff as a marketing and advertising intern to help spread the word about all that the parish has to offer. Fr. Bill Jerse and the rest of the parish office staff recognized that Katie was perfect for the job at her first interview. Katie remembers being greeted with smiles and refreshments and knew she would like working at St. Jerome, because it felt like home.
For some time, the church’s Finance Council had been looking for a way to attract younger people with good ideas to take the parish into the future, and partnering with a Jesuit Catholic university brought progress to the effort. During a recent parish function, Katie enjoyed talking to a member who attended JCU before it was co-ed and really liked hearing stories about the old days. She was impressed after meeting one long-time parishioner who was baptized at St. Jerome and still attends.
Katie’s areas of special interest in school, communications and working with social media, can bring to light St. Jerome’s presence in the Collinwood community. She authored an article in last month’s Collinwood Observer. Miss Neary has been busy creating new sleek and polished St. Jerome School and Church brochures to convey the true spirit and rich history of the parish. Katie felt connected when searching parish records for photos and data as she organized the archives for the upcoming parish centennial celebration which will take place in 2019. She was especially touched by a 1931 church bulletin related to the Great Depression when parishioners shared the expense to buy new clothes for First Communion day, since some parents could not afford to buy an outfit for their children.
Katie, who grew up in North Olmsted, is new to the Collinwood area but brings a wealth of community service experience with her. Her freshman year was packed with academics and activities. She spent spring break her freshman year traveling to a different state each day with other JCU students to serve those in need. In Louisiana she renovated a century home for impoverished kids; in Kentucky visited an orphanage; and in Alabama sang karaoke with clients of an adult day-care center. She also spent time with Cleveland homeless, dropping off food during a freezing February, and socializing with guests at Malachi House.
Katie had a lot of fun working as a teacher’s assistant in an all-girls Kindergarten class helping with writing, vocabulary, and crafts. She continued her joy of working with youth by spending a beautiful Sunday morning this July at North Collinwood’s Beachland Park teaching young visitors crafts like popsicle stick puppets and paper plate penguins. She staffed the St. Jerome table to introduce a youthful audience to the parish. During her time in Collinwood she explored Waterloo, toured Waterloo Arts and can’t wait to bring her JCU friends to the neighborhood. In her spare time Katie has appeared in over 20 local theatre productions.
If all that is not impressive enough, she also is tech savvy and started a St. Jerome Twitter account. Through social media and community presence she has been able to get the St. Jerome name out there to communicate with younger Catholics, and if they are looking for a church, we’re here for them.