Brenna Neimanis is a Good Shepherd volunteer at a juvenile justice residential detention facility that serves adolescent girls in the New York City neighborhood of Brooklyn. She has a degree in social work and humanitarian affairs from James Madison University, where she served as president of the Social Work Organization, on the executive board of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, as a member of the Shenandoah Valley Justice Initiative, and as a member of Phi Alpha, the social work honors fraternity.

She spent her college summers in India, Thailand and Laos, working with survivors of sex trafficking as well as with prevention and outreach work concerning human trafficking in these areas. She plans to pursue a master's degree in social work and continue to work with women and children who have experienced significant trauma.  

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'Just love' defines my year of service

Notes from the Field - As a Good Shepherd Volunteer, I have heard the phrase "Just love" more times than I could possibly count. It is the epitome of what we as volunteers have set our hearts and minds on since day one of our year of service.

My volunteer experience has made me even weirder, and that's a good thing

Notes from the Field - Thus far in this volunteer program, I have been given the motivation and the ability to really re-evaluate why I want to live a "weird" life by the standards of general society. With the focus on simplicity, spirituality, social justice and community, I have already explored and learned so much, and I am coming to a better understanding of what I want my life to look like.

In the silence of the heart

Notes from the Field - Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me knows that I like noise. The weekend of May 14, all of the East Coast Good Shepherd volunteers spent their time at a retreat center in New Jersey. This particular retreat happened to be a Silent Spirituality Retreat, which could also be referred to as my worst nightmare.

We each have a purpose, but we can't get there on our own

Notes from the Field - As I endure my long daily commute to the juvenile justice facility, I have a lot of time to think. I have time to really ponder and digest the things going on in my life and in my mind thanks to those three hours or so; I discover and observe new things every day, and I have become more mindful about my being and my surroundings.