Two young adults—Brett Baeverstad and Summer Swisher—who are working as teachers in the youth summer program Totus Tuus being offered at parishes across the Denver Archdiocese, are writing a weekly blog about their experiences for the Denver Catholic Register. The week two column by Baeverstad is below.
Totus Tuus week two is now complete. June 9-13 my team was at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Broomfield. We were partnered with another team making nine teachers at the parish. We were so happy to have this many teachers again as the week blessed us with many more kids.
The day program had 170 elementary kids attending! It was a blessing to see the large and flourishing community that Nativity has built. It was amazing to see how passionate the children were and how much they already knew! I was impressed by their love and compassion. On multiple occasions the kids blew me away with how much they cared for one another and those close to them.
One day after teaching our first-graders about loving their neighbor, they all decided to write notes of appreciation for the teachers. The first-graders presented these to the teachers at the end of the day. I couldn’t have asked for better timing as this happened to be a very long day where I needed a pick-me-up. At that moment I realized how the Lord truly provides in times of need. Another moment that really touched me happened after a daily Mass. Two of the little boys came up to me before we dismissed them for lunch and asked a favor. They wanted to stay behind and light a candle in the chapel for their mother and grandfather. I was impressed by this act of selflessness and love. Each one of them said a prayer for their intentions and the prayers were genuine and heartfelt. The Lord used these small moments to help all of us get through the week.
The evening program had almost 100 teens attending! I ended up working the entire week with the middle-schoolers. This was exciting because they are at the stage where they are really searching for their faith. We had an apologetics night on Wednesday where we allowed the kids to ask any question they wanted about the faith. We could tell that some of the questions had been on their minds for a long time. I was asked why God allows sin and disease. Questions like these allowed us to connect with the kids on a deeper level and gave us insight into their lives and what they are struggling with. These connections are what we were searching for coming to Totus Tuus because our goal is to be a positive influence in directing their lives toward Christ.
Totus Tuus continues to be such a blessing for me. To experience the growth of the kids has been a joy to be a part of and I am excited for the weeks to come. Totus Tuus Maria!
Brett Baeverstad, 21, is a native of Fort Collins who is studying biomedical engineering at Colorado State University. This is his first summer teaching Totus Tuus. When he’s not studying, he enjoys spending time on the golf course, shooting hoops, skiing and doing anything outside where he can enjoy beautiful Colorado.