Get to Know: Jordan

Name: Jordan Battaglia

Hometown: Chelsea, MI

SVDP Position: Community Relations Coordinator

Every day brings something different! I may be updating the website or promoting things on social media, or coordinating a community food or clothing drive. We regularly work with the different departments to make sure that we are getting messages and stories out about what we do here at SVDP.

Fun Facts

  • I could eat pizza every day
  • I love to travel and want to travel everywhere
  • I love musicals and singing!

What has been the best part of VVC?

The best thing about VVC is everything I am learning. The experience is so rich and allows for so much personal reflection and growth. The reason I decided to do a year of service was to learn what I want in a job and to give myself a jumping-off point for what’s next, and I really feel like I am getting that.

I also have to mention my community in the best things about VVC. Having 9 people I can turn to for support, for laughs, for sitting in the kitchen and talking all night – it’s amazing. We really have become a family.

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Get to Know: Christiana

Name: Christiana Tabugbo

Hometown: Louisville, KY

SVDP Position: Client Advocate

A project I am the coordinator for is a program called Sweet Cheeks. I am tasked with managing 50 families to ensure that they are receiving their diapers every month. Families usually come in the second week of each month to pick up.

Fun Facts

  • I want to travel to Capetown and Israel
  • I was on the puppet team in elementary school
  • Favorite quote:
    “Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.” -Zoe Kravitz

What has been the most challenging part of VVC?

The most challenging part about VVC is hearing about the challenges our neighbors face. My instinct is to want to help every person that walks through our door, but it is not possible to do that. Sometimes the most I can give is a listening ear. I can refer our neighbors to surrounding resources, but the challenge I face is asking “Did I do enough?” The answer is yes but in those moments it feels like no. So I guess a second challenge is learning to extend grace on myself in situations where that question arises. I am working on that now!

Get to Know: Betka

Name: Betka Limanekova

Hometown: Lakova, Slovakia

SVDP Position: Client Advocate

A typical day for me is meeting clients for clothing vouchers, birth certificates, state IDs, rental and utility assistance.

Fun Facts

  • I love Chinese food
  • A fictional character I want to meet is Superman – but only because he is played by Henry Cavill…
  • The best vacation for me would be to a place by the sea, but with historical monuments nearby

What has VVC taught you so far?

That I can help people despite the language barrier.

Get to Know: Alleya

Name: Alleya Harris

Hometown: Gilchrist, OR

SVDP Position: Ozanam Center Coordinator and Systemic Change and Getting Ahead Program Coordinator

It seems like every day is different. One day I am preparing the schedule a Getting Ahead workshop will be following and the next I am buying pancake mix for a retreat group to make for hospitality.

Fun Facts

  • I would love to travel to Italy, Germany, and New York
  • A useless talent I have is being able to do a backbend
  • I can also do origami frogs and butterflies, but I’ve found that terribly useful…

What has been the best part of VVC?

The best part is the people. It is an uncommon work experience because coworkers and supervisors care so much for me. Surprising… I was expecting to be really burnt out socially as an introvert but that hasn’t been the case.

What have you learned so far?

I can do more than I think and that poverty is complicated, terrible, and ridiculously hard to confront.

Get to Know: Taylor

Name: Taylor Welch

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

SVDP Position: Ozanam Center & Re-entry Program Coordinator

On any given day, I am preparing for upcoming retreats or workshops, talking with community partners, meeting with my OC coworkers, paperwork and developing new ideas to implement for Re-Entry program.

Fun Facts

  • A useless talent I have is napping
  • A song that describes me is Miss Independent by Ne-Yo
  • I want to travel to a South American rainforest

What has VVC taught you so far?

I have learned so much more about what it means to be a Vincentian and about the Catholic religion. Finding out that social justice and diversity is very evident and prevalent in Catholic teachings was awesome to me and seeing how Vincentians take pride in living out their life to serve and be intentional in helping those experiencing poverty was very eye-opening and honorable.

Get to Know: Phil

Name: Phil Dunn

Hometown: Walton, KY

SVDP Position: Bilingual Client Advocate

[What I do each day] varies widely, but I am at my busiest on Mondays and Thursdays. In the mornings I do walk-ins with the social services team and some volunteers. I personally handle any Spanish-speaking neighbors that walk in, but I serve everyone. Usually they need clothing or ID vouchers, and sometimes help finding other resources. I can then refer them to other SVDP services such as the pharmacy or to other organizations in Cincinnati. In the afternoons I work as a patient advocate certifying patients for the pharmacy. If they speak Spanish, I also accompany them downstairs and interpret their comprehensive medication review, especially if there is no Spanish-speaking volunteer available.

Fun Facts

  • A fictional character I’d like to meet is Don Quixote
  • My favorite vacation was to Vermont in the summer
  • Favorite quote:
    “In this struggle we gain mankind’s happiness, which is life without deception, life without stealing, life full of love” – Carlos Fonseca

What have learned so far through VVC?

I have learned that I enjoy making people feel welcome and hearing their stories. It is easier with some than with others but I always make an effort.

I also did not know that I would enjoy interpreting as much as I do. I think I have improved and earned a fair amount of introductory-level experience.

I have also learned about the Hispanic/Latino community in Cincinnati, at least about the people that come to SVDP. The diversity within the community is surprising and I am sure I only know the half of it. The overwhelming majority of the Spanish-speakers I meet are Central Americans from the Northern Triangle and Mexicans from the central and southern states. I met one man that had arrived in the U.S. two weeks before meeting me and others that have been here for over 20 years. I certainly have a better idea about the challenges the community faces in Cincinnati than I did before.

Get to Know: Anna

Name: Anna Krueger

Hometown: Grant, MN

SVDP Position: Pantry Coordinator

Every single day is different. When I am in the pantry, I unload trucks, stock shelves, complete paperwork, and interact with our volunteers and neighbors. When I am not in the pantry I am on the road doing pick-ups and drop-offs for SVDP.

Fun Facts

  • My favorite food is raspberries
  • If I could meet anyone from history I would meet St. John Paul II
  • My favorite vacation was my study abroad trip to Italy

What has been the best part of VVC?

The best part about VVC is the people! My co-workers, volunteers, and fellow community members are incredible and have made my year with VVC amazing so far! The most surprising part is the wide array of projects that I have been involved with this year.

The Virtues of Community

A look at community through the lens of the Vincentian virtues.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is rooted in the Vincentian charism. One of my favorite aspects of the charism is the five Vicentian virtues. These are virtues, or values, that Vincent de Paul reflected on, tried to live out, and decided were the most important in living a Christian life in service of others. Reflecting on these virtues myself, I think I might agree that living with these qualities in mind, one can live a more holy and Christ-like life.

Here’s how I see the Vincentian virtues at play in community life:

HUMILITY

Accepting the truth of our frailties, gifts, talents, and charism knowing that all of this is intended for the benefit of others.

Each person brings unique strengths to the community – lean on them! Your community is a resource to you. Utilizing the collective wisdom around you is what the virtue of humility is all about. One of my favorite Vincentian stories is Vincent holding meetings and letting everyone else in the room speak before he said or contributed anything – and the problem was usually solved before he stepped in! Humility is also knowing what you bring to the community and using that as well.

SELFLESSNESS

Dying to our ego with a life of self-sacrifice. Members of St. Vincent de Paul share their time, their possessions, their talents, and themselves in a spirit of generosity.

Let things go. This is definitely the hardest one for me. There are things that I never thought I’d be able to let go of, things I didn’t know if I could compromise on. What it took was realizing that I am not always the best person for the job, nor do I always have the right answer. What is most important is the community and being present to the people around you.

GENTLENESS

Friendly assurance and invincible goodwill, which means kindness, sweetness, and patience in our relationship with others.

Be gentle: with yourself, with others. If you are judging yourself or holding back, you are not giving of your whole self to the community! You can’t get very far walking on eggshells. Embrace the whole of who you are, and embrace the whole of others as well. Being gentle with others means giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming best intentions. We’re all just trying our best.

SIMPLICITY

Frankness, integrity, genuineness, being our true selves with others. Living with intention and authenticity.

Be yourself. Your community needs you. Take time to figure out what you need from your community – and know that this is not selfish! It’s important, and allows for you to be your truest self, as well as bring your best self to the community. Only when everyone is their fullest selves are we at our strongest.

ZEAL

A passion for the full flourishing and eternal happiness of every human being.

This easily translates into wanting what’s best for the community. But it also means recognizing that each person in your community – and every person you interact with every day – is a child of God and deserves your love and respect. What is the most loving way to approach any given situation? When we all live this way, we foster Christ’s love in the world.


Jordan Battaglia is from Chelsea, MI, and went to college in Chicago. She loves to sing, and you’ll often find her belting out songs from her childhood. Wine, chocolate, and coffee are guaranteed to bring her joy. Jordan wishes to travel as much as she can, and loves being in nature – mountains and lakes in particular. On a normal day, she will be taking pictures, posting on social media, and designing print materials for the community relations department at SVDP.

My Cincy Experience

I am sitting at my desk and trying to evaluate my 5 months that I already spent in Cincinnati. Before coming  here I didn’t even know where Cincinnati was. After looking at the map I realized that it’s not in the wild wild west as people at home (I am from Slovakia) would expect but it’s just in the Midwest. (I don’t know why but Ohio sounds very exotic and pretty west-ish to me.) Now, I don’t understand why it’s called Midwest when we are still in the East, but anyway, I got here after 2 cancelled flights in Canada and a fancy night in the expensive airport hotel. (Yes, the airport paid for my stay thanks to Cincinnati’s storm.) I told myself that in the end of the day I was very lucky since I could spend a night in a luxurious inn at least once in my life. One thing on my bucket list done.

When I finally got here, Cincinnati surprised me by its history and by the fact that Kentucky is just across the river. I think that I was the most excited person ever to cross the bridge and go to Kentucky. For me it really meant a lot to “travel” to another state, and Kentucky sounds so “country” and American that I was proud of myself when I was telling my family that I was in Kentucky. What an adventure!

The first time I went to Kentucky, I think it was the day after I got here, I walked there from our house. That day I walked around 6 miles, because I was so over-motivated to walk (since I am used to walking at home) – poor American guy who accompanied me. (A few days later he moved to another town – I think that he didn’t want to see me again, the crazy walking Slovakian 🙂 ) Then I realized that Americans (in general) don’t walk as much as we do. When I walk in the streets here, sometimes I am alone or sometimes there are 3 people on the sidewalk with me. The sidewalks are so empty that you can even ride a bike on them (I know, I know, it’s illegal). This was totally new for me and one of the biggest challenges – to get somewhere without a car. Everything is far, almost nothing is in a walkable distance. I have been saying that I’ve become a professional biker since I came here ( I don’t know why I still don’t have leg muscles 🙂 ).

Anyway, what surprised me the most (except the fact that people drive everywhere) was how people are nice. Americans are in general known for their kindness, politeness and smiling all the time and now I can tell that it’s true. People here are very friendly, even if my English is not perfect and sometimes I don’t understand their accents, they greet me in the streets and ask how I am. They also shout at me when they see me riding a bike because they like that it’s purple and retro (they even shout from cars when they’re stopped at traffic lights.) Once somebody was trying to buy my bike – the girl/buyer was walking behind me and my bike and shouting out offers like “40 bucks” and “50 bucks” to buy it. It makes me laugh.

Another thing that people are always asking me about is food. There are some American things that are strange to me like having a sandwich for lunch (it’s a breakfast meal for me, but I am always saying that I am becoming American, because I started to eat a sandwich for a lunch 🙂 ), or eating chips or pretzels as a part of a meal, having cheese in everything. Also the thing that you can eat everything with everything (Tommy) or water with too much ice that is so cold that I am still afraid to get a throat ache 🙂

I don’t want to be too long, I just wanted to say that this experience has been awesome so far. I like Cincinnati. I really do. Even when I gained weight here. Even when I don’t like ice,  don’t drive, and coffee shops close at 4 pm. Even when I am not German, can’t find our national Slovakian cheese in Jungle Jim’s, and kielbasa doesn’t taste the same as at home… Yes, I really do. And one last thing. Cincinnati is not boring. 🙂


Betka Limanekova is a native of Slovakia. In order to get around, she has become a proficient city biker, and likes to bike to church and different coffee shops. She loves soup and couscous, and hates movies about space, monsters, or robots. Betka will frequently ask others if they decide to like her that day, but due to her great accent, it is impossible to say no. At work you can find Betka in social services wearing floral skirts and sassing everyone around her.