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About the Ozanam Center

Mission

Rooted in the mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Ozanam Center for Service Learning fosters communities of compassion, understanding, and justice through the engagement of individuals in service, education, and reflection. Our programs seek to connect people from diverse backgrounds, engage participants in poverty and justice issues in Cincinnati, and grow a commitment to long-term service and systemic change.

Vision

To become an enduring center at the forefront of discussion and action on poverty and justice utilized by schools, families, churches, faith groups, service organizations, businesses, and other community groups.

Purpose

The Ozanam Center for Service Learning educates and challenges participants to:

  • Connect the lived realities of our neighbors to issues of social justice;
  • Engage in transformational relationships; and
  • Grow a commitment to long-term solutions supporting our neighbors in need.

History

Founded in 2009

In 2009, the Ozanam Center for Service Learning was developed in response to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s call to address the needs of our community through both charity and justice, as well as to address the desire in our local community for greater understanding of the realities facing neighbors in need.

The Center seeks to add depth and context to the encounters people have with our neighbors in need through workshops and immersion experiences that go beyond charity or volunteerism to encourage participants to ask the hard questions, search for real solutions and reflect on the larger social issues behind the human needs to which they are responding.

Following the Rule of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, our goal is to promote “understanding, cooperation, and mutual love among people of different cultures, religions, ethnic origins and social groups, and so contribute to the peace and unity of all peoples.” (Rule 7.7)

We do our work in the spirit of our founder(esses) and patron(esses); Bl. Frederic Ozanam, Bl. Rosalie Rendu, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Louise de Marillac.

Staff

Sunnie Johnson-Lain

Sunnie has been a part of the Vincentian family for the past 14 years, as a Conference member, a Board member and a staff member (in that order!). Sunnie served as Director of Conferences and Community Outreach for SVDP’s Dayton District Council for four years. In 2018, Sunnie accepted the opportunity to join St. Vincent de Paul-Cincinnati, where she is delighted to serve as Director of Services, overseeing our Outreach Center, Social Services, Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati, Re-Entry, and Ozanam Center programs. Sunnie grew up in Massachusetts and attended the University of Saint Joseph, where she majored in History and Theology. After moving with her family to Ohio, she continued her education at the University of Dayton, where she studied Pastoral Ministry, and at De Paul University, where she received her certification in Values-Based Leadership.

Mo Kelly

Mo (short for Maureen) is the Program Manager for the Ozanam Center. She grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Beaumont School in 2011. In 2016, she received a Bachelor’s in Secondary Life Science Education from the University of Dayton (go Flyers!) before completing two years of service with Mercy Volunteer Corps – one year in Philadelphia at Broad Street Ministry as a volunteer coordinator, and the second year in Cincinnati at Mercy Health Anderson Hospital as a hospital chaplain. Through these experiences, Mo gained passion for the issues of mental health, education and homelessness. In her free time, she likes to read, watch movies and eat junk food. She is excited to engage groups in service learning in our Cincinnati community!

Maggie Sheehan

Maggie grew up in Cincinnati and is a 2015 graduate of McNicholas High School. Maggie attended the University of Dayton where she received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2018. After graduation, Maggie spent two and a half years engaged in years of service with three different organizations. Following her time leading volunteer groups through Appalachian immersion retreats with Glenmary Home Missioners in Grainger Co., TN, she accompanied women and children living in a domestic violence shelter as a Rostro de Cristo volunteer in Monte Sinai, Ecuador. She finished out her years of service with Romero Center Ministries in Camden, NJ as support staff for the Neighborhood Center, Inc. Maggie loves practicing speaking Spanish, dancing, watching a soccer match, and soaking in the sunshine. She is excited to dive deeper in exploring the social justice issues that impact the city where she grew up!

Summer Employees

Each summer, the Ozanam Center offers a series of urban immersion-style retreats that invite youth to experience first-hand the realities of communities in need. The retreats draw on Catholic School Teaching and seek to help students grow in their faith and their commitment to service and social justice.

Ozanam Center Partner Organizations

Community Partners

Boys & Girls Club of Cincinnati; Center for Respite Care; Cincinnati Homeless Coalition; EPIC House; Hamilton County Justice Center; HELP Program; IJPC; Mary Magdalene House; Our Daily Bread; Peaslee Neighborhood Center; Santa Maria Community Services; Seven Hills Neighborhood House; Shelterhouse; Tender Mercies; Venice on Vine.

High Schools

Chaminade Julienne; DePaul Cristo Rey; La Salle High School; Lebanon; McNicholas High School; Mercy McAuley; Moeller; Mount Notre Dame; Roger Bacon; St. Ursula Academy; St. Xavier; Ursuline Academy

Colleges

De Paul University; Mount St. Joseph University; St. Mary’s College; St. Xavier College, Chicago; University of Cincinnati Newman Center; University of Dayton; University of Detroit-Mercy; University of Notre Dame; Xavier University.

Parishes

Bellarmine Chapel; Christ the King; Guardian Angels; Immaculate Heart of Mary; Mother of Christ; Church of the Nativity; St. Bernard; St. Cecilia; St. Clare; St. Clement; St. Gabriel; St. Joseph-North Bend; St. Lucy; St. Mary – Hyde Park; St. Susanna; St. Veronica; St. Vincent Ferrer; St. Vivian.

Civic and Professional Groups

Leadership Cincinnati; the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation; the Junior League of Cincinnati; P&G; the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden; Knowledgeworks; University of Cincinnati HEMI; Frost Brown Todd Law Firm