The Valder Social Justice Award
Mike Valder (’62) created this award in 1988 in memory of his late brother Robert Valder (’60) who was a civil rights activist. What started as an award in name and in a financial contribution to a student’s tuition, transformed to an 8-10 week summer experience working at a social justice organization. Juniors going into their senior year have worked at places such as The National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (currently IWJ), Network (a Catholic Social justice Lobby in DC), Catholic worker houses and farms, immigration and refugee service organizations, community organizing agencies and the list goes on.
“My Valder summer was a transformational time for me. During my summer, I worked on a local "Janitors for Justice" campaign and and lived in a Catholic Worker house with newly arrived refugees. The summer allowed me to experience Catholic Social Teaching firsthand. I was connecting with people on an individual level, while also starting to grapple what it meant to work for change on a systems level. My Valder summer gave me a strong social justice foundation. Upon graduation from Loras College, I spent a year as an Amate House volunteer, working as a case manager for asylum seekers in the United States. I then completed my masters in social work with a community health concentration. I now work with a not-for-profit hospice as a social worker where I am able to walk with patients and families as they navigate the end of life journey. My current place of employment encourages me to stay politically active and to work on issues that would benefit those we serve.”
-Maureen Ryan ‘05