35 Years of Hope: Sandra Vasnairos
Sandra Vasnairos spent her career helping others. Sandy, a mother of two adult sons, taught reading and special education at elementary schools in Englewood and elsewhere in Chicago and the suburbs.
In her retirement, Sandy continues to help others. A member of Old St. Patrick’s Church for 12 years, Sandy participates in Encore, a social outreach group for members 50+ years of age.
Sandy first learned of St. Martin de Porres House of Hope when Encore toured several organizations served by music therapy program Harmony, Hope & Healing. Encore decided to deepen Old St. Patrick’s relationship with St. Martin De Porres House of Hope.
That was seven years ago. Sandy and the Encore team have honored that commitment, and to this day remain highly active at St. Martin de Porres House of Hope, leading projects throughout the year. “We try to do a few things to provide things to enhance the women’s lives a little bit, to give them a bit of joy,” says Sandra. “Three times a year we have a card-making project, for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and birthday/thank you. They make their own cards, chat, enjoy. They love when they can be creative and make something special. It’s a joyful experience.
“I love connecting with the women, and being part of their journey,” says Sandra. “I admire their courage. When I go there, I come home full of hope and joy.”
“I think that St. Martin de Porres House of Hope is an absolute blessing. It gives these women a safe place where they are loved and can save themselves. What’s amazing is that when I’m there, I see how everybody cares for each other. It’s like a family. It’s so moving.